WC2010 Semifinal 2: Video Highlights

Paul the Octopus got it right once again, picking Spain and sending the German romantics crashing out of the World Cup…at least until Saturday, when they’ll play Uruguay in their second straight consolation game. (Must be cruel by now.) And if Paul nailed it by saying the most technically gifted team would win on a solitary goal from the head of Puyol…well, we promise not to eat him.

The first half of this game was arguably one of the best 45 minutes we’ve seen on the international level in term of tactical nous and footballing intelligence from the players and coaches alike. It was like a chess game being played by two grandmasters. The breakthrough came when a flying Carlos Puyol broke through the barrier of bodies, including his friend Pique, to crash a header past Manuel Neuer into the back of the net just past the hour mark. From there, the predictable happened: Germany pushed numbers, Spain held and countered on occasion. Spain probably could’ve and should’ve had three but in the end one is enough.

Both teams were tactically and defensively outstanding, countering not only overall tactics, but each little individual matchup between players. All 22 should be properly proud of how they played – almost to a man an intellectual cut above most teams this tournament – giving us, perhaps for the first time this World Cup, a game played at such a high level on both sides.

And they said this should have been the final. No disrespect to the Dutch, but that’s probably true based on the performance from both teams. But, who knows, maybe the final will be better than this. Hopefully..

Germany 0 Spain 1 (Puyol 73')

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