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Page last updated at 21:48 GMT, Tuesday, 6 July 2010 22:48 UK

World Cup 2010: Lukas Podolski eyes revenge over Spain

GERMANY v SPAIN
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.

Dutch fans celebrate the win over Brazil

Your World Cup semi-finalists

Striker Lukas Podolski feels Wednesday's World Cup semi-final against Spain is a chance for Germany to avenge their Euro 2008 final defeat.

A Fernando Torres goal gave Spain a 1-0 win over the Germans in the European showpiece in Vienna two years ago.

"We still think about that defeat and it still hurts," said Podolski. "We want revenge for 2008.

"When you are in a final you want to win. Now we want to reach the final and we'll do all we can to achieve that."

While Spain's side still contains many of the players from their successful Euro 2008 campaign, Germany are much changed in both personnel and style.

Miroslav Klose celebrates another World Cup goal

Miroslav Klose - World Cup goal machine

Talented youngsters such as midfielder Mesut Ozil, striker Thomas Mueller and defensive midfielder Sami Khedira have come in to form a more attacking side than two years ago, that has already secured impressive wins over England (4-1 in the last 16) and Argentina (4-0 in the quarter-finals).

Germany coach Joachim Loew admitted his side had improved, telling reporters: "Two years later for us there are many changes while the Spaniards are similar.

"We have made progress in the style of football we play and the results we get.

"We were not as consistent and our quality was not as good. Now our combination is much better as is our flowing game."

It is a view shared by Loew's opposite number Vicente del Bosque, who took over as Spain national coach after their Euro 2008 triumph.

606: DEBATE
Ted - PLT

"They have undertaken a renewal with an important base of young players. They have conserved their values and added players of technical quality. They make a good mix," Del Bosque said.

However, Loew is not naive to the threat posed by Spain, a team he has described as possessing a number of players at the level of Argentina's World Footballer of the Year Lionel Messi.

"Spain remain the natural World Cup favourites," the Germany coach reflected.

"They not only have one Messi, but they have several Messis - they have a whole range of players that can win a game.

"They are a team that make very few mistakes, so we will have to be very watchful against them."

He picked out Barcelona midfielders Xavi and Andres Iniesta as key opponents to watch out, but he believes Germany will be able to stop them.

"They've played together for a long time at Barcelona, that's what makes the difference," Loew added. "But if we get on top of them and put them under pressure as we did with Messi, that will be the key to the match."

Loew has stressed that if his side play to their potential they are more than capable of beating Spain and advancing to the final, where they would face the Netherlands in a repeat of the 1974 World Cup finale.

"In 2008, there is no doubt that Spain were the best team at the tournament," explained Loew.

German striker Miroslav Klose

Klose scores second to make it 4-0 Germany

"But now the situation is different. We too have a good team and we have every reason to believe that we can succeed.

"We're playing in such a way that we could dominate anyone. We can dominate a match for 90 minutes, whether technically or physically."

Loew believes he will have all his players fit and available for the game except 20-year-old Bayern Munich forward Mueller, who is suspended.

The coach admitted that the absence of Mueller, the tournament's joint-second top scorer with four goals, would be a blow to his team but he has confidence that others can take Bayern star's place.

"I always knew he had this freedom in his play, he knows how to be dangerous, he has this instinct," commented Loew. "He's given us a lot, his suspension is a tough blow but I have faith in the players who can replace him.

"They're in good form but they haven't played a lot. It's tough to replace him but Cacau, Piotr Trochowski and [Toni] Kroos can do it."

You have to go back 20 years to a see as strong a German side as this, playing so well - when we won the title in 1990

Franz Beckenbauer

One element of his side that has especially pleased Loew is his backline, marshalled expertly by centre-backs Per Metersacker and Arne Friedrich.

And it is the form of Friedrich, who has just moved to Wolfsburg following Hertha Berlin's relegation from the Bundesliga at the end of the 2009-10 season, that has particularly impressed Loew.

"They were almost perfect against Argentina, they had good organisation, they didn't make any mistakes in their individual battles," Loew pointed out.

"Friedrich showed straight away that Berlin's poor season hasn't affected him. The whole team is defending well."

Former World Cup-winning captain and coach Franz Beckenbauer is confident that Germany can land a fourth world title in Johannesburg on Sunday.

"The way they play, their style, is fantastic. Everybody on the move, wanting the ball - the team spirit is tremendous," said Beckenbauer, who identified midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger as the best player at the World Cup.

WORLD CUP PHOTO ALBUM

"Nobody in Germany expected to see them play so well. The players deserve this. You have to go back 20 years to see as strong a German side as this, playing so well - when we won the title in 1990.

"This is historic - you can always count on Germany. We do not have players such as Pele, but there is this sense of being ready to fight, tactical awareness and also the capacity to concentrate to the maximum for the World Cup."

Three-time winners Germany have arguably been the most impressive team in South Africa so far - scoring 13 goals, including four apiece against England and Argentina - and Podolski feels a continuation of such form will see them into the final.

"If we continue to play as we did against England and Argentina, I think we stand a good chance against Spain," stated Podolski.

"It will be a tight one, but we all hope and are confident we can win it."

HIGHLIGHTS OF ROUTE TO SEMI-FINALS (UK ONLY)

Group stage

Second round

Quarter-final



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see also
Argentina are bad losers - Lahm
01 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
England were not prepared - Lahm
28 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Team guide: Germany
31 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Germany performance analysis
07 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Messi wins Fifa best player award
21 Dec 09 |  Football


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