DURBAN SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 07: Spain team mates celebrate the opening goal by Carles Puyol during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Semi Final match between Germany and Spain at Durban Stadium on July 7 2010 in Durban South Africa. (Photo by Joern Pollex/Getty Images)

Spain Headed To First World Cup Final After Defeating Germany, 1-0

The 2010 World Cup will have a first-time winner after Spain defeated Germany Wednesday in Durban, 1-0, thanks to the timely head of Carles Puyol. Next for Spain: Sunday's match against the Netherlands in the World Cup's final.

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World Cup 2010, Spain Vs. Germany Review: Carles Puyol's 73rd Minute Goal Takes Spain Into Nation's First Final

Carles Puyol's 73rd minute goal has put Spain into the nation's first World Cup final, defeating Germany 1-0, the same score the teams played to in the final of Euro 2008.

The goal came off a Xavi Hernández corner kick played to the spot, where Puyol was able to run onto his shot, headed between Manuel Neuer and Lukas Podolski for the match's only goal.

Spain had dominated the opening of the second half.  With the exception of one Toni Kroos shot, Spain had created all of the half's chances, finally pay-off after Andrés Iniesta's effort created a corner kick along the left of the attack.

And with the exception of the last 25 minutes of the first half, Spain controlled the match.  The Spanish came out with more energy than the Germans, stifling the German attack in their own end, and it was only after Spain had appeared to have worn down that the Germans looked to gain a measure of the match.

When the second half opened, that stretch of German competitiveness appeared to be an aberration, with Spain able to create chances for Xabi Alonso, Pedro and David Villa prior to Carles Puyol's goal.

Germany's best chance of the match had come just before the opening goal, when Lukas Podolski lofted a cross for Kroos, whose volley could not beat Iker Casillas at the `keeper's near post.

The Spanish now advance to their first World Cup final, where they will meet the Dutch on Sunday, ensuring the competition will have a first-time winner.  The Netherlands have been to previous finals, in 1974 and 1978. 

Germany has a Saturday match against Uruguay in the third place game.


World Cup 2010, Spain Vs. Germany: David Silva Brought On For Pedro

Vincente del Bosque has  used his second substitution, bringing on David Silva for Pedro.

Silva started the first match of the tournament, Spain's loss to Switzerland.  He comes on for Pedro, today's surprise starter, who was only of the match's most active players.

Spain maintains  a 1-0 lead in the 88th minute.


World Cup 2010, Spain Vs. Germany: Substitutions Bring On Mario Gomez For Sami Khedira, Fernando Torres For David Villa

Joachim Löw has used hit final substitution while Vincente del Bosque has used his first.

Mario Gomez has been brought on for Sami Khedira, shifting Germany from a 4-5-1 formation to a 4-4-2.

Spain has taken off David Villa, putting Fernando Torres into their striker's role.

Spain maintains a 1-0 lead in the match's 83rd minute.


World Cup 2010, Spain Vs. Germany: Carles Puyol Makes Amends For First Half, Give Spain 1-0 Lead

Carles Puyol has given Spain a 73rd minute lead over Germany, heading Xavi Hernández's corner kick in from 12 yards  out, his shot going between Manuel Neuer and the post-protecting Lukas Podolski.

Hernández's lofted corner looked to target Gerard Piqué near the penalty spot, but Carles Puyol, running onto the cross from outside the box, timed his approach perfectly, powerfully heading the ball to the right of goal.  Neuer only had time to stick out a left arm, but the shot was out-of-reach.  Spain was ahead, 1-0.

Puyol had failed to convert an easier header opportunity in the first half, going over the bar from six yards out at the end of another Hernández cross.

Spain now leads 1-0, the match having progressed into the 78th minute.


World Cup 2010, Spain Vs. Germany: Toni Kroos Replaces Piotr Trochowski

Joachim Löw has made his second substitution,  taking-off right wing Piotr Trochowski in the 62nd minute in favor of Toni Kroos.

Trochowski was chosen over Kroos as Löw's replacement for the suspended Thomas Müller, generating Germany's best chance in the match's first half.  One hour into the game and with Spain attacking almost exclusively through their right side, Löw has chosen to go with the more creative option on his own right wing.

The match remains scoreless through 66 minute, with Spain having been the only threatening side since the second half's kick-off.


World Cup 2010, Spain Vs. Germany: Jerome Boateng Replaced By Marcell Jansen

Moments after Jerome Boateng was caught up-field, allowing Xabi Alonso to spring a Spain counter attack, Germany coach Joachim Löw has replaced the young defender, bringing on Marcell Jansen to play left back the the match's 54th minute.

The move is the match's first substitution and came as Spain had directed more of their attack down their right flank.

Jansen was also in Germany's 2006 World Cup squad.

The match remains scoreless, now in the 57th minute.


World Cup 2010, Spain Vs. Germany: Spain Early Pressure Wanes In Scoreless First Half

Germany withstood twenty minutes of pressure from Spain before finding their comfort zone in the match, playing the European Champions equal through a scoreless first half.

During that time Spain was able to create the match's best chance, a cross for Carles Puyol who, from six yards out, put a header over the cross bar.

Germany's best opportunities have been more threats than chances: three near counters that were undone by poor touches and reads from central attacking midfielder Mesut Özil.  The best of these chances came in the 46th minute when the German attacker overran a ball that had beaten the Spain defense, allowing Sergio Ramos to break up the play, coming to the middle of the pitch from his right back position.

Spain has registered only two shots on goals while holding 62 percent of the possession, with their new starting -  Pedro Rodríguez, in for Fernando Torres - playing in multiple places across the width of the pitch.

Germany has generated only one shot on goal - a long-range attempt from Piotr Trochowksi.


World Cup 2010, Spain Vs. Germany: Joachim Loew's Starting Lineup, Notes

The only change for Germany is a mandated one.  Right wing Thomas Müller is suspended, forcing the first change to the Germany team since the second match of the tournament.

While there had been speculation that Bayern Munich midfielder Toni Kroos would assume Müller's place, Piotr Trochowski has gotten the start.  Trochowski has been a frequent substitute throughout the tournament.

Germany's Starting XI
G - Manuel Neuer
LB - Jerome Boaten
LCB - Arne Friedrich
RCB - Per Mertesacker
RB - Philipp Lahm
LDM - Bastian Schweinsteiger
RDM - Sami Khedira
LW - Lukas Pokolski
AMF - Mesut Özil
RW - Piotr Trochowski
F - Mirsolav Klose

Löw's choice reflects a more conservative approach, with Trochkowski being a more traditionally inclined midfielder than an the attacking option Kroos represents.


World Cup 2010, Spain Vs. Germany: Vincente Del Bosque's Starting Lineup, Notes

Speculation throughout the last week surrounded Fernando Torres and whether the ineffectual striker would start today's match against Germany.  With the submission of his starting lineup we see Spain coach Vincente del Bosque has decided to pull Fernando Torres out of the starting XI.

In his place, Vincente del Bosque has selected Barcelona's Pedro.

Spain Starting XI
G - Iker Casillas
LB - Joan Capdevila
LCB - Carles Puyol
RCB - Gerard Piqué
RB - Sergio Ramos
DM - Sergio Busquets
CM - Xabi Alonso
CM - Xavi Hernández
AM - Andrés Iniesta
F - Pedro
F - David Villa

It is unclear how del Bosque will deploy this team, though the most likely scenario would find David Villa moving in from the left, taking up a more central role, while Pedro assumes Villa's place wide.

Other options that had been rumored over the preceding days:  inserting Cesc Fabregas and going with a 4-5-1 formation; starting Fernando Llorente at striker and keeping Villa in a wide role.

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