A great match can be expected when Germany and Spain face each other in the semifinals of the World Cup in Durban on Wednesday evening.
In historical terms, Germany hold the edge over Spain with eight victories compared to six, while six matches ended in draws. Germany also have a much better World Cup record and won two of three World Cup encounters against Spain.
Their first encounter at the World Cup came in 1966 when Germany won 2-1, while Germany won by the same score in 1982. Interestingly, Germany was the losing finalist at both these World Cups.
In 1994 in the United States, the two sides played to a 1-1 draw, but here, neither side progressed past the quarterfinals.
Although Germany hold the edge over Spain at the World Cup, Spain won their last encounter, with a 1-0 victory in the final of the 2008 euro Cup final.
Another interesting fact is that this encounter will be the first time that the finalists of the Euro Cup have both qualified for the semifinals of the subsequent World Cup.
Germany are in the semifinals for the third time in a row and the 12th time in their last 17 outings. By contrast, this is the first time that Spain has reached the semifinals, although they finished fourth in 1950, when semifinals were not held.
Besides their dominance over Spain at the World Cup, Germany have also reached several other milestones at this World Cup.
Thomas Mueller scored Germany’s 200th goal at the World Cup in their 4-0 victory against Argentina on Saturday, while their overall World Cup goal tally now stands at 203. Brazil have scored the most goals at the World Cup and their tally stands at 210.
This will be Germany’s 98th game at the World Cup – more than any other side. Their 4-0 victory against Argentina saw them joining Brazil, who will now move to second with 97 appearances at the World Cup.
Star strikers Miroslav Klose of Germany and David Villa of Spain are also within reach of some personal records.
Klose’s two goals against Argentina took his overall goal tally at the World Cup to 14, which puts him joint second with former German striker Gerd Mueller on the all time list. Mueller reached the milestone at two World Cups while this is Klose’s third World Cup. Klose still has a chance to join or overtake Ronaldo who holds the all time record with 15 goals.
Spanish striker David Villa has been in hot form at this World Cup and after Spain’s shock opening defeat to Switzerland, he has now scored a goal in each of their subsequent four matches. That is a new Spanish record, but still behind the all time World Cup record of six successive matches, held by Just Fontaine of France (1958) and Jairzinho of Brazil (1970).
Spain have the more experienced squad with 11 members also having appeared at the 2008 Euro Cup, while eight played in the final. Besides Villa’s goal scoring exploits, their strength lies in midfield where Barcelona team mates Xavi and Andres Iniesta have been in sparkling form, creating numerous chances with their constant passing and movement off the ball.
Striker Fernando Torres, who scored the winning goal at the 2008 Euro Cup Final has however had a poor World Cup after returning from a long injury layoff and has yet to open his account. It is also doubtful whether he will make the starting eleven, although the news that attacking midfielder Cesc Fabregas could be unavailable after injuring his leg in training, could count in his favour.
German coach Joachim Lowe has selected a young team for this World Cup and only eight players remained from their 2008 squad. He has brought in exciting youngsters like Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira, Thomas Mueller, Manuel Neuer and Jeroem Boateng, who have gelled well with established stars like Bastian Schweinsteiger, Lukas Podolski, Philip Lahm and Klose.
Lowe’s tactics have worked to perfection and their speed on the counter attack has been especially impressive as they ruthlessly exposed Australia (4-0), England (4-1) and Argentina (4-0).
But in Spain and their experienced coach Vicente Del Bosque, Lowe will meet a much tougher opponent, and according to reports Lowe is still smarting after his 2008 defeat and determined to make amends.