Before I go into my thoughts on today’s game, I just want to point out that Diego Forlan is a class act:
But it isn’t merely as a player in the family trade that Forlán impresses. He was 13, and undecided about pursuing soccer or tennis as a career, when his older sister, Alejandra, was paralyzed in a car crash. The young Diego told her in the hospital that he would become an important soccer player and earn enough to ensure that she had a good quality of life.
Does anyone else get the impression that Clint Dempsey and Mesut Oezil are long lost siblings?
You really have to admire Carles Puyol; not merely for the stunning goal, but his defense throughout the game and especially at the end. He got hammered by Mesut Oezil, splayed out across the ground and instead of laying there, jumped straight back up to protect his team’s goal.
Regarding the goal, Roberto Martinez nailed it on ESPN: the steady diet of short corners and the presence of Andres Iniesta near Xavi drew three defenders towards them, freeing up a lurking and unmarked Puyol to run five yards and blast the ball into the net with his head with all the force brought to bear with his momentum. It appeared that the Germans forgot he was playing . . .
Watching the Spanish players maintain possession throughout the game was a thing of beauty. It seemed that nearly every time they touched the ball they knew exactly what they wanted to do next – and usually did just that.
Pedro played quite well during most of the game, but his selfishness at the end prevented the game from being put away. I don’t know if Vicente del Bosque was trying to send him a message when he subbed him out, but I hope Pedro interpreted it that way.
This tidbit from ESPN:
Xavi completed 105 passes, becoming just the eighth player to complete at least 100 passes since 1966. The midfielder also had seven chances created, bringing his tournament-leading total to 25. With his
performance, Xavi now has 509 completed passes, becoming the second player to complete 500 passes at a single World Cup. Brazil’s Dunga, who completed 589 in 1994, is the other.
As I had mentioned before, Germany and Spain are probably the cleanest clubs in the tournament and today was no different: no cautions for either team and less than ten fouls for either side in today’s game.
That being said, Jerome Boateng got away with one against Sergio Ramos that should have resulted in a free kick in a dangerous area early on.
David Villa may have had his worst game of the World Cup today. I don’t think he’s too upset.
I believe that the Spaniards played the sort of game that they wanted to play and that the Germans detested. Possession in the first half appeared to throw the Germans off their game. Towards the end of the game, when the play seemed more end-to-end, Spain still pressed strongly, burning valuable time and forcing more attackers to track back and defend. The most memorable example of that was when Lukas Podolski had tracked back to make a desperation lunge against a breakaway by Sergio Ramos. Kudos for Podolski for his efforts, but it’s not the most effective use of one of your best forwards to defend against your opponent’s right back late in the game when you’re down 1-0.
That’s four clean sheets for Iker Casillas. All is forgiven.