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Page last updated at 20:04 GMT, Tuesday, 6 July 2010 21:04 UK

World Cup 2010: Casillas and Spain face historic game

Venue: Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban Date: Web, 7 July Kick-off: 1930 BST Coverage: Live on BBC1 and BBC Radio 5 live | Highlights on BBC1 (2351) and BBC red button | Full repeat on BBC3 (0145 BST). Plus watch live, listen live, follow live text commentary and watch in-game highlights on this website.

David Villa

Germany v Spain preview

Spain skipper Iker Casillas believes Wednesday's World Cup semi-final against Germany is the most important game in the country's history.

It is the first time the reigning European champions have reached a World Cup semi-final.

And the tie is a rematch of the Euro 2008 final, when Spain won 1-0 to earn their first major international trophy.

"We know the Germany match is the most important in our history - more than the Euro 2008 final," said Casillas.

Spain have not been at their fluent best in South Africa, having begun their campaign with a shock 1-0 defeat by Switzerland and since then they have shown only flashes of brilliance - although striker David Villa has been consistently excellent.

Villa is the tournament's joint leading scorer with five goals and his form has been one of the main reasons for Spain's progress - particularly with strike partner Fernando Torres struggling to be at his best.

Torres is coming back from a knee injury suffered at the end of Liverpool's domestic season and his lack of goals could tempt Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque into starting with Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas against the Germans.

Villa, 28, who has just signed for Barcelona, will be especially keen to continue his scoring run against Germany after injury ruled him out of the Euro 2008 final - when Torres scored the winner.

Extra motivation will be provided by the fact Villa is also one goal away from matching Raul's Spanish record goals tally of 44. He is already Spain's record scorer at the World Cup with eight goals in all.


"I'm happy with my five goals because they've been decisive," he stated.

"It's also different because when you win by a lot of goals it doesn't hold the same feeling as winning this way.

"We beat Germany two years ago and I don't think they are happy to meet us again.

"But we have to forget about that game. Without a World Cup [win], it's like we've achieved nothing."

Torres is in no doubt that Villa has been Spain's inspiration in the finals in South Africa

"He's been very, very important for us, a key for Spain, scoring a lot of goals," added the Liverpool striker.

"He gives us the opportunity to go forward and think about winning the World Cup."

Spain's reserve goalkeeper Pepe Reina, meanwhile, has backed his Liverpool team-mate Torres to come good at last.

Reina commented: "He's mature, he knows exactly what football is about and he knows he has to stay calm.

"He's got the confidence of the coach, his team-mates. He can repeat his Euro feats and be fundamental for us."


Group stage:

Second round:

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see also
Fabregas passed fit to play semi
07 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Podolski wants revenge over Spain
06 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Torres puts Hodgson talks on hold
04 Jul 10 |  Liverpool
Spain must improve, admits coach
03 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Struggling Torres backed by Villa
30 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Who will win the Golden Boot?
10 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Team guide: Spain
31 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Germany 0-1 Spain
07 Jul 10 |  Euro 2008

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