For some of these magic that only football has, the first half of the game in Durban ended the game of role-playing that Germany and Spain played at the World Cup. It was a Spanish Spain, with quality, ball in the foot, technical superiority, in front of a German Germany, compact, mathematical in the distribution of its players, but without that shine that presented to blind opponents like England and Argentina. The initial stage in Moses Mabhida belonged to Fury.
Spain missed the goal. And that final fit was missing which has been yielding victories to Germany. “La Roja” used his way of fostering collectivity to be better in the first 45 minutes. He played like the kid who owns the ball in street soccer: he owns it and nobody pays it - he had 57% of possession, with six shots on goal, against just one from Germany. This time, Fúria had the addition of Pedro, a Barcelona prodigy, much more participatory than Fernando Torres had been. It is a fearful gear: Pedro, Xavi, Xabo Alonso, Sergio Ramos, Iniesta (it seems that there are about 17 Iniestas in every centimeter of the field), all in search of David Villa, the final piece.
He continued to give Fury. In the 13th minute, Iniesta (or one of the 17 who occupy every inch of the field) crossed from the right. Puyol went up well, went up high, went up as the defenders go up to score the goal. His header was a shot. But the bullet was lost. The ball went over Neuer's goal, generating a collective "uh" - at Moses Mabhida, in Germany, in Spain, who knows how many places in the world.
Germany, little by little, was controlling the Spanish mood. "La Roja" has seen his threats become more rare. The problem for the three-time champions was the inability to find the same creativity as other games - perhaps the absence of Müller, who is suspended, is the biggest culprit. There were at least three moves in which the Germans went on the counterattack with the usual poison, but wrapped themselves in their legs.
The game resumed the way it stopped, but in an accelerated version. Spain stepped in the second half even more superiorly than in the first. It was a collection of goal chances. In the first, Pedro passed through the German team and rolled to Xabi Alonso, who hit badly. In the second, the Real Madrid player had another chance, this time when he received a pass from Xavi, and he was wrong again. In the third, Villa was placed in the left corner of Neuer with great danger. In the fourth, the ball did not enter because it is really stubborn.
It was at 12 minutes. Spain approached the German area en bloc, exchanging passes with millimeter precision, as if it were the most natural action in the world. The ball reached Pedro, who sent the kick. Neuer spread it out, but the move followed soon after, with Iniesta. The Barcelona midfielder advanced on the left, reached the bottom line, already inside the area, and sent a blow as a cross. David Villa is 1.75m. If he was 1.76m, he would have scored. Stretching each bone of the body in a cart was not enough for the scorer to leave his mark.
Germany even tried to show that it was not sleeping. Klose received a cross and fitted the body to mend volley. The kick went over the top. But Spain soon responded. Sergio Ramos entered the German area by surprise and almost completed Alonso's cross. Spain could still have reached the second goal, but Pedro preferred to decorate the pass instead of making the pass to Torres, who had just replaced the top scorer Villa.
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