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The Cup Running Over


July 7, 2010 4:18 PM

Instant Semifinal Review: Spain Shuts Down Germany to Gain First Final

SCORE:  Spain 1, Germany 0. A repeat of the 2008 Euro championship game, in feel as well as score. Germany never really seemed in the game.

THE STORY LINE:  Some expected an open match. It wasn't at all as both teams played very tactically (and the Germans defensively) until the Spanish got a goal on a corner in the 73rd minute. The Spanish defense was again superb as Germany very rarely threatened.

TURNING POINT: Clearly the Carlos Puyol goal on the corner which opened up the proceedings and forced the Germans to attack. Finally.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Puyol, not only for the goal but for being part of a defense that smothered the Germans. Oh, and Paul the psychic octopus. Right again.

BIGGEST SURPRISE: How tentative was play in the first half? Try no fouls in the first 25 minutes, according to OPTA stats. No German shots for 30 and only one for the half. No goals for either team obviously. Nor excitement.

BIGGEST NO-SHOW: Thomas Muller obviously, the German midfielder out on a suspension. And without his compatriot in the midfield, Mesut Ozil disappeared.

KEY STAT: Spain started seven players who play for Barcelona.

WHAT IT MEANS:
Spain-Netherlands in the final, meaning a nation that has never won the Cup will take it home this time. When was the last time a new nation won the Cup when not hosting? Brazil in 1958.

IF THE GAME WERE A ROLLING STONES SONG IT WOULD BE: One Hit (to the Body)

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