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Germany-Spain semi-final: Battle between two big clubs

Last updated on: July 7, 2010 08:32 IST

Image: David Villa and Miroslav Klose
Manu Shankar

So Germany and Spain made it to the World Cup semi-finals at the cost of a powerful Argentina and a fighting Paraguay respectively.

While the former crushed Latin American hopes with a 4-0 victory, the latter rode on David Villa's brilliance to make it to their first semi-final in 60 years.

One shouldn't be surprised over what Germany and Spain achieved thus far in the tournament. Both lost a match each, but came back strongly to emerge serious contenders for the coveted trophy.

Few gave young Germans a chance

Image: Germany team during a practice session with Joachaim Loew

Going into the month-long extravaganza, few gave Germany a realistic chance in the World Cup after injuries to seniors players like Michael Ballack, but coach Joachaim Loew transformed a young bunch into a well-oiled machine.

They started off with a thumping 4-0 win over Australia, but were brought down to earth in a 1-0 defeat by Serbia. The match against Ghana was physical, but they managed to scrape thorough 1-0.

Then came the British! That match against England showed what the young Germans are made off.  

The sight of the likes of Ozil, Muller, Podolski, Schweinsteiger, Klose, ripping though the an experienced English defence, which had big names like John Terry, Jamie Carragher, Ashley Cole, was a refreshing sight. England were routed 4-1 -- the victory sending the Germans to the Round of 16.

Then came the 'big' quarter-final clash against Argentina, who had displayed silken touch in the group stages.

In between Maradona's war of words, Loew was carefully putting the pieces together for yet another demolition job. In the end, it was the Germans who reigned. They destroyed the South Americans 4-0 in what can easily be termed their best win in the tournament and entered into the semis.

Play together to win together

Image: Miroslav Klose and Tomas Mueller

So what is it that makes Germany such a formidable force?

The answer lies in Bayern Munich club.

Bayern Munich, who won the Bundesliga had players in red-hot form. A look at Bayern's side would tell you that it's as good as the current national team.

Philiph Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Muller, Mario Gomez, Mirslov Klose all play for the same club.

So, does playing in the same club make a huge difference?

Many believe it does, as there is better co-ordination and better understanding, compared to teams that generally come together just couple months prior to an international tournament.

Spain's real strength lies in the midfield

Image: Xavi and Andres Iniesta

And what can one say about the Spaniards?

Spain started off with a shocking defeat to Switzerland, suddenly raising doubts over their ability to progress in the tournament.

With Torres and Cesc Fabregas on the injured list, their battle ahead looked like an uphill climb. But they had a certain David Villa to take them through. Four goals in five matches, speak volumes of the ability of the Valencia player who recently shifted allegiance to Barcelona.

But Spain's real strength lies in the midfield. Read La Liga champions Barcelona midfield. Xavi and Iniesta form a formidable link line. And when combined with the likes of Gerrad Pique and Carlos Puyol at the back, it is a good blend of defence and attack.

Spain, like Germany, have a team that has more than 50 per cent of their players playing for the same club. And even though they have not been as prolific as Germany, they could well give the former champions a good run for the money when they meet in the Thursday's semi-finals.

Here are some key facts as Germany take on Spain:

Germany has a better record against Spain

Image: Germany team during a warm-up session

Both have met 20 times, out of which Germany has a better record, winning eight. Spain has six wins and six draws.

But Germany enjoy a better World Cup record, winning twice and drawing once.

First ever World Cup semis

Image: Spain team after their win against Portugal

Spain will be playing in their first ever World Cup semi-final.

Their best-ever performance came at the World Cup finals of 1950 where a team managed by Guillermo Eizaguirre managed to finish in fourth place.

Both met in Euro 2008 final

Image: Fernando Torres and Sergio Ramos with the Euro trophy

Both teams last met in Euro 2008, where Torres netted the winner for Spain.

So who will the 2010 semi-final encounter?

Well, your guess is as good as mine!