World Cup 2010: Day 22

Here we are, the second semi-final match. Today we’ll discover who’ll be the other team playing for the championship and who’ll be playing for third place. Let me go ahead and break that tension for you:

Germany will win today. It won’t be like the 4-0 beatdowns we’ve seen, but it will be convincing. Germany is down Muller today, but they won’t miss him. The game’s just kicking off, so let’s get to it.

3’30” – Awesome! Somebody rushed the field! They’re taken off quickly, but they got a good bit of screen time. I’ve noticed in just about every broadcasted sport in the US, when someone gets onto the field, the camera cuts to the players or the coach or the crowd. Interesting then, that here, they just stayed on the guy. Went to a wider shot when he was leaving the frame, too. I guess he got what he wanted.

6’00” – Spain’s weapon, David Villa, got really close just now. He was alone with just the keeper in front of him, racing into the box. He slid into a kick that fired the ball right at the German goalie. Shot’s deflected and Deutschland is safe, but Spain are clearly the aggressors in the early minutes.

13’41” – What we’ve got here is a high-stakes game of keep away. Spain are dominating possession, but can’t make the final move. They’ve come close twice with Villa’s slidekick and Puyol’s header, but Germany is playing patient defense and waiting for Spain to overextend.

19’10” – Thomas Muller is banned from this game for his two yellows in previous matches, but instead of sitting on the bench with teammates, he’s up in the stands with the tippy-top of the German team’s management/staff. Yet he’s still wearing his Germany warmup gear? Yeah. He looks like the son of a team owner, so completely in love with his dad’s position that he’s sure he knows everything about the game, and won’t stop talking about it to upper-management, who are more concerned with getting sloshed on top-shelf scotch, smoking, and thinking about how this jabbering little monkey’s father is going to fire him if he doesn’t keep nodding.

29’30” – If you need a metaphor for this game so far, think of a Stormtrooper firefight. Impressive to look at, but accomplishes nothing.

Aren't you a little pretty for a Stormtrooper?

43’07” – Much as I hate to say it… this one’s getting boring. There’ve been chances created and taken, but it seems like there’s been more passing than shooting. I’m sure this is a soccer tactician’s dream, but those guys are boring. Therefore, this is boring.

45’00” + 0’30” – Amazingly, Ozil gets mugged while running for the goal with the ball at his feet and just one defender in tow, and no penalty kick is given. Sergio Ramos gets away with one and Spain exhale.

Halftime – Someone’s got to turn it on. Germany and Spain have both had opportunities to get a goal, but each time, they were missing just one piece. With Spain, there’s usually not enough support in the box, and with Germany, they seem to lose passing accuracy once they cross into Spain’s penalty area.

The highlight, unfortunately, is the no-call on Ramos fouling Ozil in Spain’s box. Looking at it again, it’s a little more debatable than I first thought, but I’m not sure German fans will see it the same way.

This is about what I expected from Spain, who seem to just throw attacks at the other team haphazardly until they find something that works. They seem to count on teams eventually getting impatient waiting for their chance to steal the ball from Spain’s tight grasp, and when the other team goes out on a limb, Spain does just enough to get the stop, then attacks a spread-out side.

Germany, though, just hasn’t gelled yet. There’ve been flashes of the other, better team, but Spain’s control over the ball is upsetting their rhythm. It will be the reaction of the team that scores first that will determine the winner, I think. If Germany get it, they’ve got to continue to lean on Spain, as they’ve done with other opponents. If Spain scores first, Germany cannot go into panic mode.

I guess we’ll just see. I’m still sticking by my Germany pick, though. That warbeast is still lurking somewhere in those Black Forest hearts.

57’50” – Well, Spain got that support I was talking about. A rapid succession of attacks just narrowly missed Germany’s goal, all due to about 5 Spanish players in the box. If Germany can’t stem this tide, they’re in big, big trouble.

72’45” – And there you have it: Spain strikes first. A corner kick flies in and, from the back of the pack, Puyol flies in, his caveman hair whipping in the South African wind, and hammers the ball off his neanderthal skull and into the back of the net. 1-0, Spain, and Germany have to get their shit together.

Your goal scorer, Carles Puyol, feeling fresh and competitive after killing a mammoth.

80’00” – About 12 or 13 minutes until this one’s over, and it looks like Germany may be out of it. Spain just substituted out David Villa, so if Germany can get the tying goal, they might have a better chance to score again than Spain. But, things are looking grim for the white shirts. Spain is defending with the exact amount of intensity with which they attack. Which is to say, a metric fuckton.

87’10” – Germany are really lacking the ferocity they had just one game ago. Spain appears to be everywhere the Germans place the ball, and Germany have no plan B. It’s looking a whole lot like Spain are about to make a fool out of me. You’d think I’d be mad, but I’m WAY better at making a fool of myself than they are.

90’00” – Three minutes of stoppage. Do or die time. These Germans are about to start foaming at the mouth.

90’00” + 2’30” – God bless them, they’re trying, but the Spaniards are faster than light. They are all things and in all places.

Fulltime – Color me surprised. La Furia Roja shut down the German death machine and win yet another match 1-0. I really gave Spain no chance here, but they made Germany play their kind of soccer and Germany couldn’t adapt.

Well, good on the Spanish. They’re going to the World Cup final for the first time ever and they’ll be facing the Oranje. I was all ready to give the cup to Germany, but now that they’ve faltered… I just don’t know. I’m inclined to go with Spain, but there’s no guarantee they’ll play like this on Sunday.

As for Germany-Uruguay? I feel sorry for Uruguay. They’re going to get a very angry German team determined to go out with a win. I love Forlan, and Suarez will be back, but so will Mueller, and Uruguay plays the kind of football that I think Germany can take advantage of.

We’ve only got two matches left, everybody. And, unfortunately, I’m not going to be able to watch the first of the two. Saturday, I’ll be indisposed. But, I’ll certainly be around Sunday to cover the finale. Two teams playing for their first World Cup win EVER? Should be good.

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