Scroll down for the full archive of today's live blog of the Spain - Germany semifinal match.
|FINAL THOUGHTS: After all these years Spain have finally reached a World Cup final! They were the better team today, particularly in the second half, and deserved to win, even though it feels like they still haven't played their best football. Maybe they will get around to doing so against Holland in the final, where they will no doubt be the favorites to hoist the trophy. Germany were a force to be reckoned with in the tournament and were arguably the most exciting team to watch up to this point, but they simply ran out of steam against Spain. Regardless of who is victorious on Sunday, a new name will be added to the list of countries that have managed to win the World Cup.
Halftime Update: An enjoyable first half, if one without any real highlights. Hint of controversy at the end of the half when Ozil went down in the area but didn't really look like a penalty. Spain had the best of the possession and attacking but nothing too threatening ultimately. Best chance was a point-blank header for Puyol that the defender sent over the bar from six yards. Tight game, but Spain definitely the sharper team in the first 45. Germany look out of rhythm.
Game Preview: No offense to the Dutch, but it seems entirely reasonable to suspect that today's semifinal showdown between Spain and Germany will eclipse whatever World Cup final ultimately transpires. Germany has been playing far and away the most dynamic attacking football in the tournament, and pretty much the best football period, having so thoroughly dismantled England and Argentina. Perennial underachievers Spain, meanwhile, haven't fully lived up to expectations, but when they're at their best, their meticulous possession game can't be topped. Having reached the World Cup semifinals for the first time, the pre-tournament favorite Spaniards will no doubt feel a particular pressure to triumph in this rematch of the Euro 2008 final (which they won), whereas Germany seem comfortable playing the carefree, if supremely confident, underdogs. And that was before the ever-prescient Paul the Octopus picked Spain to win! This feels like the real final, even if it's not.
Germany will unfortunately today be without the services of 20-year-old Thomas Muller, perhaps the breakout star of the tournament, after he picked up a harsh yellow card for an incidental handball against Argentina. But they won't be lacking for creativity and firepower due to their stellar crop of dynamic young players, led by the crafty Mesut Ozil. As for the German old guard, striker Miroslav Klose is having yet another banner World Cup and is just one goal shy of tying Ronaldo for the all-time World Cup record of 15. However, he still trails the red-hot David Villa of Spain for this tournament's Golden Boot, as the Barcelona man has found the back of the net 5 times so far, picking up the slack for his out-of-form strike partner Fernando Torres.