BBC Sport world-cup-2010

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

Germany 0-1 Spain

By Jonathan Stevenson & Sam Lyon
  1. 13:00 Commentary  

    Three-time World Cup winners Germany, playing arguably the most deliciously attractive football in their history, against first-time semi-finalists Spain, who for a while seemed to be on a one-country crusade to make the game beautiful again. There’s a lot to look forward to today, isn’t there?

  2. 13:06 Commentary  

    On we go to the second semi-final to find out who will face the mighty Netherlands in Sunday’s World Cup showpiece occasion at Soccer City in Johannesburg, the place I’ve called home for the last month. Kick-off between Joachim Loew’s lads and Vicente del Bosque’s boys is at 1930 BST inside the equally stunning Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

  3. 13:10 Commentary  

    I can’t go on without reminding you about Paul the psychic octopus’s prediction for tonight’s encounter. Dear Paul, remember, has successfully forecast all of Germany’s results in South Africa so far and on Tuesday, to the horror of the watching Deutschland public (who were presumably on tentacles), he plumped for Spain to triumph. Cue classic quote from Paul’s keeper, Oliver Walenciak: “Yeah, there are always some people who want to eat our octopus. But he’ll survive.” Haha.

  4. 13:16 Commentary  

    Now then, don’t make me send the boys round. Sprechen sie deutche? Habla Espanol? Speako el lingo de football? Hit me, cos we’re rapido running out of areas. What I'm looking for is the stuff they mine a lot around here - GOLD:
    I’m on Twitter @Stevo_football;
    I’m textable on 81111 (UK) and +44 7786200666 (worldwide);
    And I’ve got the 606 pages in too.

  5. Twitter  

    From Glen_Robertson1: "Germany vs Spain. Beautiful football vs a team scraping wins by the odd goal. Not the way around we expected it to be."

  6. 13:24 Commentary  

    You probably won't be surprised to learn that German chancellor Angela Merkel is predicting her brave boys to win 2-1 this evening. Meanwhile, the US Embassy in Berlin says ambassador Philip Murphy bet his counterpart in Madrid a case of German Riesling wine that Germany will win. The ambassador to Spain, Alan Solomont, bet a case of Spanish red wine that Vicente del Bosque's team will win. Don't wine if they do.

  7. 606  

    From Karthick Arvinth: "I'm very confident this match-up will live up to its hype. Spanish tiki-taka vs German speed. Cannot wait for kick-off."

  8. 13:30 Commentary  

    Of course the focus is largely on this evening's game, but feel free to have your say on events from Cape Town on Tuesday as the Netherlands saw off Uruguay to book their first final berth since the 1978 World Cup. Or the ticker-tape tournament, as some people like to refer to it. Here's a starter for 10: Mark van Bommel, thoughts?

  9. 13:34 Commentary  

    Meanwhile, BBC sports editor David Bond has been mulling over the fact that the three teams left in the tournament are all from the same continent. "What historians will not be able to ignore here in South Africa is Europe's renaissance on the world stage."

  10. SMS  

    From Gordon: "Working for a German company and my colleagues are starting to get edgy ahead of the game. One has even set up a countdown clock. I have to add, come on Germany."

  11. Contributor BBC Sport's James Pearce  

    On Twitter: "Someone's stuck their lucky mascot on a camera inside Durban stadium ahead of Germany v Spain."

  12. 13:46 Commentary  

    If I may be so bold, perhaps the only thing this tournament is truly missing is one of those epic games that will forever live in the memory. You know, the ones that swing one way and then the other, you think someone's won and then the other hauls it back. I’m thinking Italy 4-3 West Germany in 1970, Italy 3-2 Brazil in 1982, or Spain 4-3 Yugoslavia in Euro 2000. It’s not too late yet, though. Is it, universe?

  13. 606  

    From redandblackT: "If Germany score first that'll be contest over. They just need to hit on the counter attack and shackle Villa. Torres, if he starts, seems to be marking himself out of matches these days."

  14. Contributor BBC Sport's Oliver Brett:  

    On Twitter: "According to marca.com, Queen of Spain has pitched up in Durban with a big red San Fermin handkerchief around her neck."

  15. 13:57 Commentary  

    Also in the World Cup news on this, the day they've already dubbed 'Matchday 23': Diego Maradona must decide whether he wants to continue as Argentina boss; Jim Beglin has an ear infection; and leading Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf simply led with "FINAL" this morning. Who against, though, De Telegraaf? That's what we want to know.

  16. 14:01 Commentary  

    In a bid to match Paul the psychic octopus and his eerie predos, I've attempted to first raise my game and then rely on my three-year-old nephew to bail me out. Neither worked, so tonight I'm going to rely completely on chance. Just before 19:00 BST, I will roll the random dice of internet fate to find out tonight's score and then let you know.

  17. SMS  

    James, Bali (impatient Art teacher): "The logos of the Germany & Spain football associations are a great insight into national psyches - Germany's is like a Volkswagan logo on its side (technical & organised), Spain's is like a Miro painting or tourism logo (fantastic and creative)."

  18. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's Chris Waddle  

    “Spain stuttered at the start of the tournament, they have created a lot of chances and haven't converted them but I think they have been getting better. They will be a big test for Germany, I'd lean that Spain will get the better of them and face the Netherlands in the final.”

  19. 14:11 Commentary  

    Why are you being so shy? Come on: the 606 debate is up and running, the text numbers 81111 (UK) and +44 7786200666 (worldwide) are still working and I'm waiting for tweets @Stevo_football as well. Don't tell me you've got work to do all of a sudden. Give over.

  20. Twitter  

    From Glen_Robertson1: "Random dice? I like that idea. I got a score of 4-1. However, I forgot to assign a team to each side. Don't make my mistake."

  21. 14:20 Commentary  

    Wondering what it’s like to support a World Cup finalist? Sounds like Museum Square in Amsterdam on Tuesday was very much the place to be. “My dad is always telling me about the great team of the 70s,” said one fan. “But now I know what it feels like to have my team in a World Cup final." As a Forest fan born in July 1980, I’m feeling that chat in all sorts of ways.

  22. 606  

    From bigcurlygav: "Re 13:30 and Van Bommel, I reckon he's been the best Dutch player at the tournament. A lot has been made of Sneijder but I don't think he's quite lived up to his form with Inter this season, whereas Van Bommel has looked solid -even if he is a dirty, dirty player."

  23. 14:26 Commentary  

    Um, (see 14:01) just to clarify: I'm glad you're all having such a great time with 6-6 and 6-5 scores on the random dice of internet fate, but only one roll will actually predict the score and that'll take place at the International Broadcast Centre in Johannesburg at 18:59 BST. Thanks for listening.

  24. SMS  

    From CB, Kent: "Ha ha, 14:01. This is all getting a bit abstract and unscientific. Anyone would think you didn't have eight years' experience as a sports journalist to draw on to make your predictions."

    Nine, actually. Hang on, does that make it worse?

  25. 14:34 Commentary Spain legend Fernando Hierro:  

    “What has changed is the mentality. After 44 years, Spain are now the European champions. This is showing now in this tournament with the team reaching the semi-final. The team now has momentum, but what the win in 2008 has done is give the team more confidence and they have matured as well."

  26. 14:37 Commentary  

    By the way, the total stadium attendance for the 2010 World Cup will pass the three million mark in Durban this evening. So far, 2,997,000 people have attended the first 61 matches at an average of 49,134, with three games left to play.

  27. 14:41 Commentary Germany legend Franz Beckenbauer:  

    “Germany have never before played like this. The way they play, their style, is fantastic. Everybody on the move, wanting the ball - the team spirit is tremendous. Nobody in Germany expected to see them play so well. This team shows the new face of Germany, thanks to some of the players who were not born in Germany but who have a German passport.”

  28. Twitter  

    From johnkluempers: "In a poll on German TV ARD website, 82.22% who answered said Germany  would beat Spain. Shame on the 17.78% non-believers."

  29. 14:48 Commentary  

    News just in from Reuters agency: Inter Milan have no intention of listening to offers for playmaker Wesley Sneijder amid reported interest from Manchester United, club president Massimo Moratti has said.

  30. 14:50 Commentary  

    And now the Press Association is reporting that Arsenal are on the verge of completing a £10m deal for French defender Laurent Koscielny from Lorient. Hey, clubs - can't you wait for the World Cup to end?! So disrespectful.

  31. 606  

    From tamales: "The pressure is off Spain now and it's up to Germany to deliver. The battle will be won in midfield and it won't be easy for the Mannschaft because Spain's midfield are no pushovers in comparison with England (who panicked) and Argentina (who had none). Especially if del Bosque starts with Fabregas instead of Torres."

  32. Contributor BBC Sport's Gary Lineker  

    “Tonight’s a tough one to call. You’ve got the form side of the tournament in Germany against probably the best team in terms of players and the way they play. It’s difficult to see Germany playing as well again - it’s really difficult to peak three times running. I’d like to see the Spanish do it.”

  33. 14:57 Commentary  

    I bet when the great Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima rolled in his 15th and final World Cup goal to break Gerd Muller’s record against Ghana four years ago, he didn’t think that at the next tournament his milestone would be in danger of being overtaken. But that is what Germany striker Miroslav Klose, with 14 to his name, stands on the brink of at his third finals. As BBC blogger Paul Fletcher says, “the 32-year-old is now just a good day at the office away from becoming the tournament's all-time leading goalscorer.”

  34. 15:00 Commentary  

    You know sometimes a change is as good as a rest. For the next couple of hours let Sam Lyon be your guide as we continue to count down to Germany v Spain in the 2010 World Cup. I'll see you in a bit. Auf wiedersehen, adios.

  35. 15:05 Commentary  

    Hello, good afternoon and welcome people. With kick-off now less than four-and-a-half hours away, it is up to me - Sam Lyon - to chat you through a bit more build-up... please tell me I'm not the only one getting more excited than a six-year-old in a sweet shop?! Good. Didn't think so.

  36. 15:11 Commentary  

    My first task, unfortunately, is to relay to you some reports we're receiving that flights into Durban airport have been badly delayed from all points around the country - meaning, at best, delays to plenty of fans attempting to get to this evening's Spain-Germany semi-final. No word, yet, whether any of this could mean a - dare I say it - decision to push back kick-off tonight, but all the latest as I get it as always. Fingers crossed all round, please.

  37. Twitter  

    From rshah619: "Can't the clock wind down faster? I want to see Germany in the final!"

  38. 15:16 Commentary  

    Now then, why not take rshah619's example and get involved? The ways and means to you are three in number - Tweet me @sampatricklyon, text me on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide), or let the chat roam free on 606. You now have less than three days of World Cup action left upon which to have your say - don't let your big moment pass you by.

  39. 15:23 Commentary  

    More on those delays at Durban airport, then, from our friends out and about in South Africa. The Daily Mail's Matt Lawton describes the scenes at DA as "absolute chaos", The Times' Matt Dickinson notes "more empty seats tonight would be terrible after Cape Town semi", Henry Winter of the Telegraph tells of "South Africans' first major transportation rick of the World Cup", while our own Gordon Farquhar concedes he and the others stranded at DA "probably won't make it for game". Perhaps they should have taken Paul Fletcher's lead and got the bus?

  40. Twitter  
  41. 15:36 Commentary  

    Anyway, for those fans lucky enough to actually make it to Durban to see tonight's match, it might just be a little spicy. Putting the undeniable quality of both outfits to one side for a moment - I wonder how Bastian Schweinsteiger feels about facing Germany's conquerors from the Euro 2008 final? The midfielder found himself in the midst of a Spanish conga after the game as he tried to hold himself together for the German press in the mixed zone - and he was not a happy bunny. This video is not hard to find on t'internet. Check it out.

  42. 606  

    From redinoz: "The famous Schweinsteiger interview is a classic moment in football. Can never get enough of it."

  43. 15:39 Commentary  

    A little update on the Durban Airport situation - following a two/three-hour delay, it is now being reported that around nine flights containing fans and press flying in for tonight's semi-final are now in the air - raising hopes they will make it in time. It's still touch and go mind...

  44. Twitter  

    From OSLifestyles: "Can't believe there are only three more games to watch in the World Cup... then another four-year wait!"

  45. 15:44 Commentary  

    So, it is all to play for tonight between Germany and Spain - but for the Netherlands, the hard part - for now at least - is done. The Oranje booked their place in the final with a 3-2 defeat of surprise-package Uruguay last night, and coach Bert van Marwijk has rewarded them with two days off. How nice. That means the squad are scheduled to hold their final training session on Saturday, the day before the final at Johannesburg's Soccer City. Fresh.

  46. SMS  

    From Woody: "Can't believe it's my pub teams first training session of the summer tonight! What to do? Risk missing out on being in the starting XI come the start of the season or watch what i believe is going to be the match of the tournament. Oh the agony of choice.....HELP!!!"

    Mate, if you miss out on selection by virtue of missing a single training session, you're obviously not good enough anyway. Watch the game.

  47. 15:51 Commentary  

    Of course, what we also now know for sure is that we will have another all-European final, regardless of whether Spain or Germany emerge triumphant this evening. The early round of matches suggested South Africa 2010 would be remembered for the dominance of South American football, but BBC Sports Editor David Bond's assessment now is that: "What historians will not be able to ignore here is Europe's renaissance on the world stage." Thoughts?

  48. Twitter  

    From HibaMS: "Re that Schweinsteiger interview (1536): Okay, now I really want Germany to thrash Spain. How insensitive of the Spanish players...?!"

  49. Contributor BBC World Service's Richard Connelly  

    On Twitter: "Press centre underneath The Saucer is packed, more than 3.5 hrs before kick off. Total attendance at World Cup to go through 3 million mark tonight."

  50. 16:01 Commentary  

    I won't wade into the South American football v European football debate (yet, anyway) but this really has been The Tournament Of Reinvention hasn't it? So much so I capitalised the first letter of each word. Oh yes. Germany are now the world's leading attacking unit, Brazil prize pragmatism over flair, the Netherlands are actually, you know, getting on with each other, Spain are shedding their 'chokers' tag in the least flamboyant fashion possible, and England are knocked out almost as quickly as they are billed as potential champions. All right, that last one's a bit same ol', same ol', but you get my point.

  51. Twitter  

    From araevoi: "The European dominance in SA reflects the re-emergence of the Bundesliga as a top league & La Liga as the place to be. Premier League beware."

  52. 16:08 Commentary  

    One thing that hasn't changed, however, is Argentina's adoration of Diego Maradona. The Bearded Badger may not have been able to lead the two-time winners past the last eight in his attempt to replicate his World Cup triumph of 1986, but they still love the little man in Buenos Aires et al. So much so that Juan Cabandie, an ally of President Cristina Kirchner, has suggested erecting a statue of El Diego in the nation's capital. I wonder if they'll cast his hand in the air?

  53. SMS  

    From Fran: "Re 1551: Surely there are two very different sides to the European football story in this World Cup. Lest we forget that France, Italy and England were abject!"

  54. 16:15 Commentary  

    What can we expect from tonight's match, then? Well, it's worth bearing in mind that while Germany have scored for fun - becoming the first team since Brazil in 1970 to score four or more in three World Cup matches - they have done so largely on the counter-attack. Against Argentina and England they had less possession than either of their opponents - but converted eight of their 13 chances.

  55. Twitter  

    From Ronaldinh0: "Re: 1601: Tournament Of Reinvention? Or TOR for short... is this an omen for Klose - die Tormaschine?"

  56. SMS  

    From Mostafa: "I think the octopus has got it wrong this time. Germans to triumph tonight and set up a mouth-watering encounter with the Dutch."

  57. 16:26 Commentary  

    You have to wonder, therefore, whether Spain's approach might - in theory - play into Germany's hands, given Die Mannschaft's brilliance on the counter? Vicente del Bosque's outfit are widely regarded as the world's leading pass-masters, and with Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Xabi Alonso, David Villa (etc etc) in their XI it's not hard to see why, but La Furia Roja have hardly hit their straps yet have they? That said, our very own Gary Lineker reckons Germany just won't be able to excel three games on the trot. Argue the toss on that one, why don't you.

  58. Twitter  

    From Stevie_Gray: "The team playing the best football vs the team with the potential to play the best football. Come on Spain, live up to the hype."

  59. 606  

    From stillbrighter: "Let's take a moment to be honest shall we? The standard of football has been very poor in this tournament, Spain are incredibly lucky to be in the semi-final, and both the Netherlands and Germany have ridden their luck at times."

  60. 16:33 Commentary  

    And what will be the impact of Thomas Mueller's absence because of suspension for Germany? So meteoric has the Bayern forward's rise been that the 20-year-old is now absolutely key to Joachim Loew's team. Proof? Our friend OptaJoe tells us he has been involved in seven of Germany's 13 goals at this tournament with four goals and three assists. Can Cacau, Piotr Trochowski or Mario Gomez step up as his replacement?

  61. 16:36 Commentary Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff on Mueller's absence  

    "Thomas (Mueller)'s absence is a little link in the chain missing and he has been outstanding. (But) the team have reacted admirably whenever key players have been missing."

  62. Twitter  

    From mikehenkehh: "What is stillbrighter on about? The football has been quite entertaining... well after the first week anyway!"

  63. 606  

    From Lelinho: "On what we've seen Germany should take it, but I have a gut feeling Spain may just try get them down to 10 men and take it from there."

    Expecting a few niggles are we? I fear you might be right... hope not though.

  64. 16:44 Commentary  

    Spain have their own selection dilemma tonight too, of course. Who would've thought we'd be saying this before the tournament started, but Fernando Torres is far from sure of his place, so poor has his form thus far been. His most likely replacement should he be dropped would appear to be Cesc Fabregas - who himself has only just been cleared to play after an injury to his right leg - so Vicente del Bosque certainly has his work cut out.

  65. SMS  

    From Anon: "Spain to win tonight, the Germans haven't really come up against a top-level organized defense yet. There are people saying there's a possible weak link in Capdevila but he's been more than OK so far for Spain, who have more potential in attack if they choose to perform."

  66. Twitter  

    From Mulhuzz: "Whilst Mueller will be missed, look out for Trochowski. At times this season for Hamburg he was outstanding."

  67. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban  

    "Slightly less than three hours until kick-off so perhaps not surprising that there are about a mere 20 fans already in their seats. Shame really, because they are giving the sound system a fair old work out - and I have not been overwhelmed by a sound like this since it all went Pete Tong back in the day. You could have a cracking party inside this sensational ground."

  68. 16:51 Commentary  

    By the way, if you're interested in warming up for tonight's gargantuan semi-final between Spain and Germany via the medium of video, check out our latest edition of World Football Focus, on which Manish Bhasin, John Motson and Mark Bright give their thoughts on the Durban showdown. You can watch that wherever you are in the world as well, which is nice.

  69. SMS  

    From Jon in Solihull: "Totally agree with araevoi (below), the Bundesliga is a brilliant league. It's about £5 to watch a game, they have sellout crowds for each match and you can drink in your seat! Not to mention they have about nine different teams capable of being crowned champions! Did I also mention they have one of the best national sides in the world?"

  70. SMS  

    From Sam: "To have two teams in this year's final who've never won before (The Netherlands and Spain) will make it a much greater occasion. Go Spain!"

  71. 16:59 Commentary  

    Meanwhile, there's little doubting who the Netherlands supporters want to win through to Sunday's showpiece final - and it aint Spain (sorry Spain). "Bring on the Germans," one Dutch fan said. "They always seem to beat us but we want revenge. They are our biggest national rivals and to beat them in the final would be the best feeling in the world."

  72. Twitter  

    From jharris3791: "Re: Anon (16:44) The Germans have come up against an organized defence - Serbia. And they lost 1-0."

  73. Contributor BBC Sport's Dan Walker  

    On Twitter: "The #bbcbusofdreams will be on at HT and FT tonight on BBC1. One of our interviewees has the best name of the trip... Precious Chilli!"

  74. 17:07 Commentary  

    Tonight also sees the game-within-a-game of the race for the Golden Boot, lest we forget. Spain's David Villa, with five, and Germany's Miroslav Klose (four) will be aiming to get on the scoresheet and further their claims on that coveted prize - with only those two, Wesley Sneijder (five) of the Netherlands and Uruguay's Diego Forlan (four) left in the running in all likelihood. David Villa, by the way, has scored five and made the other of Spain's six goals in South Africa. One man team?

  75. SMS  

    From AM4DV: "I reckon Spain have been more impressive in unlocking the two most boring teams in the tournament than Germany have in whipping two of the most overhyped. 2-0 Spain... Villa with both."

  76. 606  

    From Twirlip: "Any footy fan should be hoping Germany win tonight. A Netherlands vs Spain final will be an ugly spectacle. Two of the least entertaining sides in this World Cup."

  77. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban  

    "The sprinklers have been very busy since I arrived at the ground 45 minutes or so ago. There is a fantastic arch that sweeps over the stadium and I was fortunate enough to ride to the top earlier in the day. I have to say this stadium looks amazing from all angles. Just a shame the two ends are not slightly nearer the pitch."

  78. 17:16 Commentary  

    Re: 17:07, by the way, the winner of the Golden Boot is worked out thus: Whoever scores the most goals wins. If two or more players score the same number of goals, the number of assists (as determined by Fifa) will be decisive. Should two or more players be equal after this calculation, the player who has played the fewest minutes in the tournament wins. A Silver Boot and a Bronze Boot will also be awarded. Simples.

  79. SMS  

    From Will, Kidderminster: "Spain AND Germany have lost games. No matter who wins this I can't see them beating Holland who are unbeaten and have won every single game so far."

  80. 17:23 Commentary  

    Right, with our man Jonathan Stevenson preparing to bring you all the latest team news and match action, there's just time for me to offer you my match prediction. Those of you who know me will testify to the fact that I have never ever been wrong (about anything) so offer a sportsman's bet to your friends of... dun dun dun...
    Spain 1-3 Germany

  81. Twitter  

    From jazzy_1985: "Re: 17:16 - what if the minutes played are the same? Does it come down to seconds."

    And after that a general knowledge quiz on 19th century art followed by a dance-off in the centre-circle of the Soccer City Stadium. Maybe.

  82. SMS  

    From Abbas: "What is twirlip on about below?! Spain may not have been scoring many goals but the football is delicious. Come on Espana!"

  83. 17:30 Commentary  

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, is my time to hand you back to Johannesburg with Jonathan Stevenson - give him the chat you've been giving me and we're absolutely golden. You're all legends, here's hoping for a classic. See ya.

  84. 17:35 Commentary  

    Sam, Sam, Sam, Sam, Sam (see 17:23). I thought we'd been through this before? I knew the punters would sucker you in. As I have said at 14:01 and was forced to repeat at 14:26, what will decide tonight's score is the random dice of internet fate. Jeez, is it so hard to understand?

  85. 17:38 Commentary  

    Anyway, welcome back to Jo’burg. Outside, they are already starting to prepare the stadium and the area around it for the final of the 19th World Cup on Sunday. The Netherlands have already book their place at Soccer City, but there’s one still up for grabs. Germany or Spain? Germany, or Spain? Germany? Or Spain? The countdown continues.

  86. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban  

    "It is official ladies and gentlemen, the Spain coach has left their hotel and is on its way to the stadium, police escort and all. I suspect they are not going to have some of the pass issues that we have had on the BBC bus."

  87. 17:45 Commentary  

    I beg your pardon. If you could refresh your page, you're back with Jonathan Stevenson. You know that no countdown is complete without your wholehearted participation, don't you? I don’t ask for you to get involved for the sake of it, I genuinely want to hear from you. Ask my mum - I’m rubbish at lying. I await your texts to 81111 (UK) and +44 7786200666 (worldwide), your tweets @Stevo_football and your comments on the 606 page as well. If mum’s busy, dad’d probably say the same, just with less interest.

  88. 17:49 Commentary  

    Some early speculation on the teams is suggesting Spain may drop Fernando Torres this evening in favour of Barcelona's goalscoring machine Pedro. Full line-ups and chat as soon as we can confirm it.

  89. Contributor Spanish pundit Guillem Balague on BBC Radio 5 Live:  

    "Fernando Torres will be on the bench for Spain tonight and Pedro will start."

  90. SMS  

    Carlos, Halifax: "Have to agree with Gary Lineker on this one, the Germans have peaked too soon. However unspectacular Spain have been so far, they will have the nous to unlock them. But agreed that the Bundesliga is a fantastic league, I had the pleasure of drinking a large beaker of lager whilst witnessing a home defeat for Hertha Berlin this season, all for €18, bargain."

  91. 17:58 Commentary Spain coach Vicente del Bosque:  

    "I think Germany are greatly improved since 2008. Their squad has undergone a renewal with important young players coming through but they have maintained the traditional values of German football. They have players of high quality with good technical skills."

  92. 18:00 Commentary  

    Fernando Torres could yet be of use to Spain tonight, but I can't help but feel that's a very, very wise move from Vicente del Bosque, bringing in Pedro. The guy is not only a very good footballer but he knows where the back of the net is and gives them width to boot. I'm a fan, in case you hadn't noticed.

  93. 18:04 Commentary Germany coach Joachim Loew:  

    "After we lost the 2008 final we were all very disappointed, but you have to admit that Spain were clearly the best team in that tournament so they deserved to win the Euros. Two years on, we have made a lot of changes, Spain not so many. In this tournament, in terms of how we've been playing, we've clearly come on several steps since 2008."

  94. 606  

    From Andrei Arshavin: "I can't imagine what formation Spain will play now, will it be 4-3-3 with Iniesta on the wing or a strange 4-4-2? I think 4-3-3 will be the way forward. Germany have overpowered Argentina and England by taking control of the midfield, but Spain have the better players in the centre of the park. Though I think they need an extra player in there in order to ensure they remain in control."

  95. 18:11 Commentary  

    My attempts at predicting have frankly been made to look every bit as amateurish as they are this tournament by the legendary figure of World Cup Motty. So what does the 10-time tournament wordsmith make of this one? “If Germany can contain David Villa in the way they contained Lionel Messi in the quarter-final, I think they can go through.” Consider me told.

  96. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban  

    "And here come the German team, looking pretty serious as they step off their coach. Reckon they must get on pretty well with their bus driver because every one of them shook his hand."

  97. Contributor BBC Sport's James Pearce  

    On Twitter: "German and Spanish fans pose for photos together in Durban before the World Cup semi-final."

  98. SMS  

    From Abbas: "I agree, Pedro has been a gem for Barca this season - if he and Xavi can link up properly, they can cause REAL damage! Haha, do you get it? Real damage?"

    You see what I'm left with, people?

  99. Twitter  

    From antoniusamadeus: "Gary Lineker says Germans can't win well three times in row, but what about Villa? Can he save Spain three times in a row?"

  100. 18:26 Commentary Germany v Spain line-ups:  

    Germany: 1-Manuel Neuer; 16-Philipp Lahm, 3-Arne Friedrich, 17-Per Mertesacker, 20-Jerome Boateng, 15-Piotr Trochowski, 6-Sami Khedira, 7-Bastian Schweinsteiger, 10-Lukas Podolski, 8-Mesut Ozil, 11-Miroslav Klose.
    Spain: 1-Iker Casillas; 15-Sergio Ramos, 3-Gerard Pique, 5-Carles Puyol, 11-Joan Capdevila; 14-Xabi Alonso, 8-Xavi, 6-Andres Iniesta, 16-Sergio Busquets; 18-Pedro, 7-David Villa.
    Referee: Viktor Kassai (Hungary).

  101. 606  

    From rufus ruffcut: "Against England and Argentina, Germany scored an early goal, which helped them go on to score more on the break. Eng & Arg had very poor defences. Spain will not be so obliging."

  102. 18:33 Commentary  

    Our friends at Infostrada Sports have been successfully mining for gold yet again: On Tuesday, a team who had never won the World Cup knocked out one that had. This hadn't happened in the semifinals since 1958. If we ignore the first couple of World Cups, there has never been a World Cup where two former winners were knocked out by two non-winners at the semifinal stage. This is what needs to happen for Spain to make it into the final.

  103. Contributor BBC World Service's Richard Connelly  

    On Twitter: "Very few stadiums take your breath away when you walk in from the concourse. This is one. Stunning light, stunning colour."

  104. 18:38 Commentary Germany's Lukas Podolski:  

    “We want revenge for 2008. When you are in a final you want to win. We still think about that defeat and it still hurts. We want to reach the final and we'll do all we can to achieve that.”

  105. 18:40 Commentary Spain's Andres Iniesta:  

    "Winning the European Championship was a very important moment for Spanish football and for the Spanish players. We are lucky to live this moment of history and it's a privilege for us."

  106. SMS  

    From Anon: "The reason Germany have beaten everyone is because they defend very narrow and so can commit more players up field. To beat them you will have to play with genuine width. I fear for Spain."

  107. 18:45 Commentary Germany v Spain team news:  

    One change apiece, then, as Spain drop striker Fernando Torres and replace him with Barcelona forward Pedro, while Germany bring in Piotr Trochowski on their right for the suspended Thomas Mueller.

  108. 18:49 Commentary  

    Coming up: the random dice of internet fate roll. If you're bored of my chat, hit me with your own. Texts go to 81111 (UK) and +44 7786200666 (worldwide), Tweets @Stevo_football and there's a 606 page too. What a big night for the greatest sport on earth this is.

  109. Twitter  

    From JohnMartinKeogh: "So Del Bosque finally gets it. Keep Torres on hold till late. Even half fit he could be lethal against a tired defence."

  110. 18:54 Commentary Germany's bench:  

    Wiese, Jansen, Aogo, Tasci, Kiessling, Badstuber, Kroos, Cacau, Marin, Gomez, Butt.

  111. 18:55 Commentary Spain's bench:  

    Valdes, Albiol, Marchena, Torres, Fabregas, Mata, Arbeloa, Llorente, Javi Martinez, Silva, Jesus Navas, Reina.

  112. 606  

    From footballyf1: "Spain midfield vs German counter-attacking pace, this will be a treat to watch. Hope there are many goals, somehow feel that Germans may lose today."

  113. 18:59 Commentary  

    Drumroll, please.

  114. 1900: Commentary Stevo's Predo:  
  115. 19:03 Commentary  

    Spain captain Iker Casillas wants them to “make history” by beating Germany and reach the World Cup final. It would be history in many ways, too - not only La Furia Roja’s first, but it would be the first World Cup final without any of Argentina, Italy, Brazil or (West) Germany. Spain could also become the first Euro champions to reach the WC final since, ahem, West Germany in 1982.

  116. Contributor BBC Sport's Alan Hansen  

    "It's fascinating, this. Germany get men behind the ball but when they break it's with speed and fluency and they can be devastating. Spain started poorly, but as always for them the key is the midfield two of Xavi and Andres Iniesta. You cannot give them any time on the ball."

  117. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban  

    "I often think that Germany boss Joachim Loew has the slightly maudlin, melancholy expression of a struggling playwright. However, that blue cashmere number under his jacket is so lounge lizard that any such thoughts are banished."

  118. 19:09 Commentary  

    These two countries are special. Germany’s turn: they are the first team in 40 years to score four-plus goals in three different World Cup games and they will play their 98th WC match tonight, breaking the record they share with Brazil. They have scored 203 goals so far, compared with Brazil’s 210. I know. They’ve smashed in 13 goals en route to the semi, with six different scorers. They’re electric.

  119. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's Graham Taylor  

    "It will be interesting to see if David Villa is happier working in his central role than he has been operating on the left."

  120. Twitter  

    From xFied: "The Octopus and the Random Dice of Internet Fate can not be both wrong, its gonna be Spain. Oh, and Gary Lineker too."

  121. 19:17 Commentary  

    Spain have not scored anything like the number of goals they were expected to - only six from five games, five of them from the right boot of David Villa. But they are second on the list of chances created, with 72 - Germany are behind with 68. Top creators-in-chief? Why the sublime Xavi of course on 18 and the young pretender Mesut Ozil on 17. Whoever ends tonight on top might just prove decisive.

  122. SMS  

    From Irtiza: "That Spanish starting XI has got seven Barcelona outfield players. Would Germany be able to beat Barca? I wouldn’t be too sure of that."

  123. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban  

    "There is a fantastic atmosphere inside this ground. I wouldn't exactly say it was of the you-could-cut-the-tension-with-a-knife variety (the journalist to my left, for example, is currently dancing to Bob Marley) but it is definitely buzzing. There is just a great feel inside this stadium right now. I think the fact that it is not very cold helps."

  124. Contributor Spanish pundit Guillem Balague on BBC Radio 5 Live:  

    "Xavi is not entirely happy. The way teams have defended against Spain, he has had to play more forward where he has less space to think and look for the pass. Everybody has realised they need to move around Xavi to allow him to find his passes. This is not his tournament. Yet."

  125. Contributor BBC Sport's Gary Lineker  

    "There's never been a 0-0 in a World Cup semi-final."

  126. 19:24 Commentary  

    This is getting seriously exciting. Germany, led by captain Philipp Lahm, and Spain, led by skipper Iker Casillas, walk out at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban. Ooh, let's not forget Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai, either. Anthem time.

  127. 19:27 Commentary  

    Yep, that CD with the 32 World Cup national anthems definitely needs to be made. There's a gap in the market, I'm telling you. Do you think they'd let me write a message in the cover?

  128. 19:28 Commentary Spain coach Vicente del Bosque:  

    “We know we can play better than we have done so far and we hope to do that in the semi-final. I think it will be a good advert for football.”

  129. 19:29 Commentary Germany coach Joachim Loew:  

    “Spain remain the natural World Cup favourites. In the last two to three years they've been the most consistent team, they've always played and won the important matches. They not only have one Messi, but they have several Messis. They are a team that make very few mistakes, far fewer than the likes of England or Argentina and we will have to force them into making mistakes."

  130. 19:30 KICK-OFF Germany v Spain  

    Inside a very special stadium in Durban, let's hope a very special World Cup semi-final has just got under way.

  131. Contributor BBC Sport's Mark Lawrenson  

    "In the games we have seen Germany play, Bastian Schweinsteiger has had the run of the midfield. But I cannot see that happening against this Spanish team tonight."

  132. 2 mins Commentary  

    Lots of early possession for Spain, as you might expect, but Joan Capdevila's cross into the box sails way over David Villa's head and behind for a goalkick.

  133. 4 mins Commentary  

    There's a pitch invader in Durban, so we have a little restart. "Someone's been drinking on an empty head," says Lawro.

  134. 5 mins Commentary  

    Germany conceded more possession in their games against both England and Argentina, but they've barely had a kick so far in Durban. Patient stuff from the Spanish.

  135. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's Graham Taylor  

    "You may think 'why should such players be nervous?' but the bigger and further you go, there will be some of those players that will be nervous."

  136. 6 mins Commentary  

    Brilliant pass forward from Pedro into the Germany box and David Villa is in behind Aren Friedrich, but he has to slide to get anything on the ball and Manuel Neuer races off his line to block. Good save. 

  137. 8 mins Commentary  

    Germany have not started well - they are being put under so much pressure by Spain on the rare occasions they get hold of the ball. Cracking start from Vicente del Bosque's team.

  138. 10 mins OFFSIDE  

    First moment of uncertainty at the back for Spain as Gerard Pique tries to let the ball run out and Miroslav Klose so nearly steals possession, while moments later Mesut Ozil is flagged offside - close call.

  139. 606  

    From BlueAcrosstheWorld: "How much better Spain are when Torres is sitting on the bench. Not because he is a bad player, but the extra midfielder provides so much more for Spain."

  140. 14 mins Commentary  

    Real chance. Spain play a corner short and then from the right Andres Iniesta fizzes a cross on to the head of his Barcelona captain Carles Puyol - but from eight yards, his diving header flies over the Germany bar. Only one team in it right now.

  141. 16 mins Commentary  

    Oooh, Mesut Ozil swings over a corner from the Germany right and Iker Casillas only just feathers it away from a posse of German players waiting to head it in. Nearly got caught out there, the Spain keeper.

  142. Twitter  

    From ajmint: "(See 19:27) Yeah, a gap in the market."

    And it's my birthday soon.

  143. 19 mins Commentary  

    Xabi Alonso plays a glorious ball out to the right to Sergio Ramos, but from just outside the Germany area he totally wastes a good position by smashing a shot wide. Still all Spain in Durban.

  144. 22 mins Commentary  

    A Spain attack breaks down and this is where Germany have countered with such devastating speed all World Cup, but this time Lukas Podolski's pass goes astray and Mesut Ozil isn't happy. Soon after Miroslav Klose tries to turn in the Spain box, but Carles Puyol gets back to challenge.

  145. SMS  

    James, Warrington: "If Spain have had one weakness it's been Pique, and he's already been caught a couple of times already. A plan from the Germans? A surprise considering his form at Barcelona."

  146. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's Graham Taylor  

    "Spain continue to dominate possession as most of us thought they would and they've created a number of opportunities, but Germany are still in the game."

  147. 26 mins Commentary  

    Germany knock it around at the back and I think this, with 26 minutes gone, is the first time they've been able to do that so far. But then Lukas Podolski mis-controls and Spain are back on the ball.

  148. 27 mins Commentary  

    Lukas Podolski goes down after Sergio Ramos appears to tread on his left foot, the Spanish defender is maybe a bit lucky to get away without a yellow card there.

  149. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's Chris Waddle  

    "Spain have got to get bodies in there and try and hurt Germany. The Germans, though, are being very patient and just waiting for their opportunity."

  150. 30 mins Commentary  

    Perhaps just a first sign of slight frustration from Xabi Alonso as he slams a right-foot shot wide from 30 yards. It's Spain's fourth shot of the evening - Germany haven't had one yet. They usually only need one or two, though.

  151. 32 mins Commentary  

    There they go. Germany work it through to Philipp Lahm down the right and when he plays it infield for Piotr Trochowski, the midfielder's low, well-struck left-foot shot from 25 yards is tipped behind by Iker Casillas.

  152. Contributor BBC World Service's Vladimir Hernandez  

    On Twitter: "Germany have proved most dangerous when the other team dominate the ball like Spain is doing."

  153. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban  

    "Out comes the Mexican Wave but, refreshingly, it does not make it half way around the ground. A little bit like that fan who ran on the pitch before. Pretty tense, but Spain have definitely got their passing game functioning while Villa, Iniesta and Pedro are pretty fluid up front and Xavi is ever willing to drop deep to seek out possession."

  154. 35 mins Commentary  

    David Villa is frantically waving his arms up and down on the Spain right, but he doesn't get a pass, and moments later Andres Iniesta's attempt at a slide-rule pass for the striker is blocked by a Germany defender.

  155. Contributor BBC Sport's Mark Lawrenson  

    "Spain have got perfect pass syndrome."

  156. 37 mins Commentary  

    Spain are over-playing it and Vicente del Bosque looks non-too-pleased sat, arms folded, on the bench. They've had so much of the ball and in the final third done very little decisive with it.

  157. Twitter  

    From Sam_Hutchinson: "Germany did this "no possession" game in the last two matches. Doubt they'll mess up here. Spain aren't clinical enough."

  158. 41 mins Commentary  

    Possession percentage stats show 53-47 in Spain's favour, which shows you that Germany have come into it more in recent times in Durban. They look dangerous going forward too, you won't be surprised to learn.

  159. 42 mins Commentary  

    Jerome Boateng gets a ticking off from the ref for obstructing Andres Iniesta, but Spain over-play the free-kick, trying to be too clever, and Germany are awake and well-drilled and clear the danger with ease.

  160. Contributor BBC Sport's Mark Lawrenson  

    "German players from midfield are trying to commit defenders, but it isn't happening the other way around."

  161. 45 mins INJURY TIME  

    As another Spain corner comes to nothing, we enter a minute of added time at the end of the first half.

  162. 45 mins Commentary  

    Mesut Ozil fastens on to a pass forward and he's in, the young playmaker, but Sergio Ramos gets across and Ozil goes down in the Spain box. He wants a penalty and the German box do too, but the ref waves play on.

  163. 20:16 HALF-TIME Germany 0-0 Spain  

    Pedro's shot from 20 yards is saved by Manuel Neuer and that's the last action of the half. Replays suggest Ozil was fouled by Ramos, but the kick was just outside the box. Should have been a free-kick.

  164. Contributor BBC Sport's Guy Mowbray  

    "First contact was just outside the area."

  165. Contributor BBC Sport's Clarence Seedorf  

    "The Germans have quality. They came back well after the first 25 minutes when Spain were pressing them a bit and they created some chances later in the first half."

  166. 606  

    From Enlightened: "I think Spain are playing beautifully. The obvious criticism is the lack of end product. But they have been entertaining some of us with the super passing."

  167. Contributor BBC Sport's Alan Shearer  

    "Carles Puyol's header was the best chance of the game so far and he should really have scored from there."

  168. Twitter  

    From Robi1993: "I don't like this Spanish team. No runs from midfield, no physical presence up front, no Plan B. They need Cesc and Llorente."

  169. Contributor BBC Sport's Gary Lineker  

    "Spain haven't been involved in a 0-0 draw for 33 games, Germany haven't been involved in one for 37 games."

  170. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban  

    "A game that always looked too close to pick remains, well, too close to pick. Spain are first out of the tunnel. It would be fascinating to see what approach they adopted if Germany were to take the lead."

  171. 20:31 Commentary  

    We are very much back under way inside the spectacular Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

  172. 46 mins Commentary  

    Spain start the half brightly and Sergio Ramos gets Pedro away down the right, but there's only David Villa in the box for him to hit and it flies over the five-goal frontman's head.

  173. 48 mins Commentary  

    Magical stuff from Pedro down the Spanish right - he somehow keeps going and keeps going to the edge of the Germany box when it looks like he's run out of steam, but he manages to pull it back for Xabi Alonso, who promptly spanks it wide.

  174. 50 mins Commentary  

    Wide, but only by a yard or two. Spain play the ball from right and on the edge of the Germany box Xavi lays it off again to Xabi Alonso, but his left-foot shot flies narrowly wide of Manuel Neuer's left-hand post.

  175. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's Graham Taylor  

    "I wondered whether Pedro was ever going to stop beating people then. It was disappointing from Alonso because he never got hold of it and we know how well he can hit a ball."

  176. 52 mins SUBSTITUTION  

    Germany make a change early on in the second half and it's Jerome Boateng who comes off, with Marcell Jansen coming on in his place.

  177. Contributor BBC Sport's Mark Lawrenson  

    "I think it's Spain who need to make a change because they are powderpuff at the moment."

  178. 55 mins Commentary  

    Spain get into a good position again and after Andres Iniesta finds Xavi he plays it short to David Villa on the edge of the Germany box towards the left, but his effort doesn't come back enough and is comfortably wide for Manuel Neuer.

  179. 58 mins Commentary  

    It's still cagey. Spain are still waiting for the perfect moment to pass through Germany and the Germans are waiting for their chance to counter.

  180. 59 mins Commentary  

    Spain might not get much closer without scoring. Pedro has a shot from the edge of the box well saved by Manuel Neuer and then from the rebound Andres Iniesta's fizzing cross along the six-yard box just evades David Villa at the far post. Then, Pedro fires just wide from 20 yards.

  181. Contributor BBC Sport's Guy Mowbray  

    "Echoes of Gazza for David Villa."

  182. 61 mins Commentary  

    Half a chance for the arch-predator, but Miroslav Klose can only volley an awkward Marcell Jansen cross from the Germany left way over the bar.

  183. Contributor BBC World Service's Vladimir Hernandez  

    On Twitter: "Pedro looks very sharp, but I don't understand why Spain insist crossing into the area with no Torres."

  184. 62 mins SUBSTITUTION  

    Another change for the Germans - Joachim Loew doesn't mess about. Toni Kroos comes on for Piotr Trochowski with just under half an hour remaining in Durban.

  185. Contributor BBC Sport's Mark Lawrenson  

    "He's trying to win the game, Loew, that's two positive substitutions."

  186. 63 mins Commentary  

    Sergio Ramos tries to latch on to a cross into the Germany area and he goes down under a challenge from Lukas Podolski, but there's nothing doing there for Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai.

  187. 65 mins Commentary  

    More frustration for Spain, they just cannot get that final ball right on the edge of the Germany box. This time Xabio Alonso and Pedro and Xavi are all involved before Andres Iniesta's cross drifts behind. Fernando Torres starts warming up.

  188. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's Alan Green  

    "Despite all Spain's dominance it is still 0-0 and that will play on their minds with them having never been in a World Cup final."

  189. 68 mins Commentary  

    David Villa gets past a defender and drills a cross-shot goalwards from an angle on the right, but Manuel Neuer gets down well to make a routine save.

  190. SMS  

    Peter, Huddersfield: "Bored. It's not very good is it?"

  191. SMS  

    From Anon: "Rarely have I enjoyed a game with so few shots on goal. It's beautifully poised."

  192. 69 mins Commentary  

    All that Spanish possession and it's Germany who should be 1-0 up. Lukas Podolski digs out a super cross from the left and it lands on the half-volley for the unmarked Toni Kroos, but he can't get enough power on the shot and Iker Casillas dives to his left to make the parry.

  193. 72 mins Commentary  

    Now it's Germany who enjoy some possession - have they broken the Spanish spirit with their closed ranks? Vicente del Bosque probably should be thinking about a sub sometime soon.

  194. 73 mins GOAL Germany 0-1 Spain  

    That's not the most Spanish goal you'll ever see - but I think the country's just gone crazy. Xavi flings over a corner from the left and Barcelona captain Carles Puyol climbs highest to absolutely thump a header from 10 yards past Manuel Neuer. Fabulous header - and not a short pass in sight.

  195. Contributor BBC Sport's Guy Mowbray  

    "Joachim Loew is now facing the biggest test of his managerial career. He's got 16 minutes to get a goal back and keep Germany in the World Cup."

  196. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's Graham Taylor  

    "Isn't it ironic with all the play and possession Spain have had that it's from a corner that Puyol comes in and scores? I think it's going to be very hard for Germany to come back now."

  197. 77 mins Commentary  

    Now then, Joachim Loew's got one substitution left to make, Vicente del Bosque's got all three in his locker. Who does what? This is where you earn your money.

  198. 78 mins Commentary  

    Now Germany are going to boss the ball and Spain are going to play on the break. Maybe some fresh legs would help the Spanish? Toni Kroos sends over two German corners, but they are both resolutely headed away.

  199. 606  

    From TiJesunimi: "Well, it just had to happen. The pressure was simply relentless. Now, let's see Germany show the world how to counter-attack when you're chasing the game."

  200. 81 mins SUBSTITUTION  

    There's a change apiece, with Mario Gomez coming on for Sami Khedira for Germany and Fernando Torres replacing David Villa for Spain.

  201. Contributor BBC Sport's Guy Mowbray  

    "There was real surprise from a few of the Spanish players when they saw their number '7' go up on that board."

  202. 82 mins Commentary  

    Oh, Pedro. If Germany get back into this, the Barca man will have serious questions to answer. A German attack breaks down and Spain are two-on-one - but Pedro dallies and procrastinates and gets tackled instead of playing in an unmarked Fernando Torres. Pedro apologises, but the Spanish bench are horrified.

  203. 85 mins Commentary  

    Xabi Alonso wins the ball from Mesut Ozil but brings the midfielder down too and there's a free-kick for Germany 40 yards out. After a couple of balls into the box are cleared, Carles Puyol fouls Bastian Schweinsteiger right on the edge of the Spain box but nothing is given. Pedro is then hauled off for Spain, with David Silva coming on.

  204. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's Graham Taylor  

    "You wonder why Germany waited until they were 1-0 down until they began to play in this manner and go at Spain."

  205. 88 mins Commentary  

    Time is ticking, what have Germany got left?

  206. Contributor BBC Sport's Mark Lawrenson  

    "I still think Germany will get another chance."

  207. 89 mins Commentary  

    Andres Iniesta finds Fernando Torres and he is desperate to create a shooting chance, but Arne Friedrich gets in well to boot the ball behind for a corner. Spain are just eating up the clock.

  208. 90 mins INJURY TIME  

    Spain are only three minutes of injury time away from their first World Cup final.

  209. 90 mins Commentary  

    Germany look spent. Spain are taking their time over everything and they even look like trying to bring on another sub.

  210. 90 mins SUBSTITUTION  

    Spain send on Carlos Marchena for Xabi Alonso. He probably won't touch the ball, but he might be leaping around in a few seconds' time.

  211. 21:20 FULL-TIME Germany 0-1 Spain  

    On the day that thousands of people dashed through Pamplona's historic old quarter, Spain have hit the bullseye in Durban.

  212. 21:20 Commentary  

    SPAIN HAVE REACHED THE WORLD CUP FINAL FOR THE FIRST TIME

  213. 21:21 Commentary  

    The "ole's" are ringing out from the International Broadcast Centre in Johannesburg - there is going to be a big old party in the Spanish section this evening. Don't worry, I won't dash over just yet.

  214. 21:22 Commentary  

    Carles Puyol, who has just headed Spain into their first World Cup final, looks like he is in a state of shock. Two of the world's best players, Andres Iniesta and Bastian Schweinsteiger, exchange shirts, while Per Mertesacker looks heartbroken.

  215. Contributor Spanish pundit Guillem Balague on BBC Radio 5 Live:  

    "Three years ago we decided to keep the ball and since then nobody has taken it off us. We cannot compete physically with the rest so we keep the ball. All my life I've hoped for a moment like this."

  216. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's Chris Waddle  

    "Germany have had a marvellous tournament. Germany's time will come, maybe in the next tournament, but this is Spain's moment."

  217. 21:27 Commentary  

    So, ladies and gentlemen, there will be a new winner of the World Cup in 2010. The Netherlands will play Spain at Soccer City in Johannesburg on Sunday at 1930 BST for the right to lift the greatest sporting trophy on earth.

  218. Contributor BBC Sport's Gary Lineker  

    "In all my years of doing this, I've never heard pundits screaming at a player as much as you did when Pedro didn't pass to Fernando Torres at the end!"

  219. Contributor BBC Sport's Alan Hansen  

    "Spain were definitely the better side, some of their passing was scintillating - yet the irony was that their winning goal came courtesy of a headed goal from a centre half."

  220. 21:33 Commentary  

    Hey, you wanna know something cool? The Netherlands and Spain have never met in the World Cup before. Surprising, isn't it? On Sunday, one of these great countries will become the eighth country to win the competition.

  221. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's Chris Waddle  

    "Joachim Loew got it wrong. When you play Spain it's like playing Barcelona. They close people down and work hard. You’ve got to capitalise on the counter-attack and put the ball in dangerous areas, but Germany relied on set pieces."

  222. Twitter  

    From dbfinch: "The 1-0 scoreline illustrates a fatal flaw in using dice to predict results."

  223. Contributor BBC Sport's John Motson  

    "I don't know how the Netherlands and Spain have never met at a World Cup or a Euros when they've both been so involved in so many of them. But if Spain win on Sunday, they will become the first team to hold the World Cup and Euros since France 10 years ago."

  224. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's Alan Green  

    "I'm delighted that the Dutch gave got there, but I'm so, so pleased that Spain have made it. They have given me so much pleasure in the last couple of years and I still think they are the best team in the world and the best team in the tournament. There's so much more to come and I think they'll prove they are winners on Sunday."

  225. SMS  

    Steve, Leeds: "Move over Stevo, BBC Sport needs its own octopus for this prediction malarkey."

  226. 21:46 Commentary Spain's David Villa:  

    "We've shown that in the big moments we've risen to the occasion. It's the best game we've played. We deserved to score more but a Puyol goal put us in the final and we're exultant."

  227. 21:50 Commentary Germany captain Philipp Lahm:  

    "It was very difficult tonight. We knew Spain were a favourite to win the tournament. Spain is a very strong team. We didn't play courageously enough in the first half. We had a chance in the second but weren't able to use it. It's a huge disappointment. We wanted to do a lot and didn't succeed."

  228. Contributor BBC Sport's Mark Lawrenson  

    "I think the better team on the night won and Sunday's game is going to be very, very open."

  229. 21:54 Commentary  

    By the way, in the race for the Golden Shoe, David Villa stays in pole position despite his goal-less evening. If you don't understand why, see Sam's entries at 17:07 and 17:16. Villa is currently three minutes better off than Wesley Sneijder, helped by his substitution this evening.

  230. 21:55 Commentary  

    That, my football-loving friends, is that. We have our World Cup finalists - on Sunday, the Netherlands will face Spain. Before then on Saturday, Uruguay take on Germany in the third place play-off. You have a good Rest Day Five and Rest Day Six and see you then.

By Paul Fletcher, Durban

Spain reached the World Cup final for the first time after a second-half header from Carles Puyol secured a narrow victory over Germany after an intriguing match in Durban.

Vicente del Bosque's side won their third straight game 1-0 and will now play the Netherlands in Sunday's final at Soccer City.

Spain deserved their victory after controlling huge periods of the match, but once again it was far from a vintage performance.

Del Bosque's team improved on their scrappy performance against Paraguay in the previous round but still struggled to carve out clear openings.

The winning goal came when Puyol showed great determination to atone for a poor first-half miss by heading home Xavi's corner with 17 minutes remaining.

The Euro 2008 champions, who defeated Germany 1-0 in the final of that competition, should have scored a second after striking with the sort of counter-attack that had been a trademark of their opponents' play in this competition, but Pedro failed to pick out a completely unmarked Fernando Torres.

Germany had invited pressure by adopting an increasingly deep defensive line as the match wore on - and may regret not taking the game to their opponents more while it remained goalless.

Joachim Loew's team scored four against both England and Argentina in their previous games and had illuminated the competition with their bold play.

But they had few opportunities to strike on the counter against Spain and so Germany taste defeat at the semi-final stage for the second successive World Cup.

Spain coach Del Bosque chose Wednesday's tie to drop the out-of-form Torres, drafting in Barcelona's lively young forward Pedro and deploying David Villa as a lone striker.

And while Del Bosque's team certainly looked comfortable as they worked the ball around midfield, Germany showed excellent shape and discipline, and were rarely dragged out of position.

Spain did occasionally pick holes in the German defensive structure, with Pedro playing in Villa only for keeper Manuel Neuer to deny him after only five minutes.

Puyol headed over from a firm Andres Iniesta cross, wasting an excellent chance, while a raking cross-field pass from Xabi Alonso found Sergio Ramos in space, only for the Real Madrid full-back to drill his ambitious shot wide.

Germany did not have the opportunity to launch a counter attack until the 22nd minute, but that broke down after a miscommunication between Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski.

Loew's team looked increasingly threatening as the half wore on and had what initially appeared to be a strong penalty appeal in injury-time, after Ozil went down under a clumsy challenge from Ramos.

Ozil was certainly in a very threatening position after collecting a pass from Miroslav Klose and looked to be fouled, but replays suggested the initial contact had been made outside the area.

The start of the second half was a repeat of the first in that Spain passed and probed - but this time they started to seriously threaten Neuer's goal.

Alonso twice shot wide from distance, as did Villa with a low effort he tried to curl across goal, but the impressive Pedro did force a sharp save from Neuer.

Germany were dropping ever deeper and would have fallen behind but for two near misses. The first saw Villa come within inches of converting a low Iniesta cross, while Ramos was likewise agonisingly close to converting from Alonso's angled pass.

Loew brought on Marcell Jansen and Toni Kroos for Jerome Boateng and Trochowski as he tried to change the game in his team's favour.

And Kroos forced a save after a deep cross from Podolski, but shortly afterwards Puyol struck and Spain were able to close out the match to seal their place in the final and ensure that the World Cup will have a first-time winner in 2010.

Germany Germany Flag 0-1 Spain Flag Spain FT

(HT 0-0)

 Puyol, 73

Germany

Spain

 

Substitutes:

Substitutes:

  • Venue: Moses Mabhida Stadium
  • Referee: V Kassai
  • Attendance: 60,960
Germany     Spain
  • Possession 39%
    61%
  • Attempts on target 4
    5
  • Attempts off target 1
    8
  • Corners 6
    7
  • Fouls 9
    5

Projected table based on current scores

Group A

Group A teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Uruguay 3 2 1 0 4 0 4 7
Mexico 3 1 1 1 3 2 1 4
South Africa 3 1 1 1 3 5 -2 4
France 3 0 1 2 1 4 -3 1

Group B

Group B teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Argentina 3 3 0 0 7 1 6 9
South Korea 3 1 1 1 5 6 -1 4
Greece 3 1 0 2 2 5 -3 3
Nigeria 3 0 1 2 3 5 -2 1

Group C

Group C teams P W D L F A GD PTS
USA 3 1 2 0 4 3 1 5
England 3 1 2 0 2 1 1 5
Slovenia 3 1 1 1 3 3 0 4
Algeria 3 0 1 2 0 2 -2 1

Group D

Group D teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Germany 3 2 0 1 5 1 4 6
Ghana 3 1 1 1 2 2 0 4
Australia 3 1 1 1 3 6 -3 4
Serbia 3 1 0 2 2 3 -1 3

Group E

Group E teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Netherlands 3 3 0 0 5 1 4 9
Japan 3 2 0 1 4 2 2 6
Denmark 3 1 0 2 3 6 -3 3
Cameroon 3 0 0 3 2 5 -3 0

Group F

Group F teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Paraguay 3 1 2 0 3 1 2 5
Slovakia 3 1 1 1 4 5 -1 4
New Zealand 3 0 3 0 2 2 0 3
Italy 3 0 2 1 4 5 -1 2

Group G

Group G teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Brazil 3 2 1 0 5 2 3 7
Portugal 3 1 2 0 7 0 7 5
Ivory Coast 3 1 1 1 4 3 1 4
North Korea 3 0 0 3 1 12 -11 0

Group H

Group H teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Spain 3 2 0 1 4 2 2 6
Chile 3 2 0 1 3 2 1 6
Switzerland 3 1 1 1 1 1 0 4
Honduras 3 0 1 2 0 3 -3 1

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