I'm going to be doing previews of every World Cup game from here on in. Here's one on the Spain-Germany semifinal, which will be televised today at 11:30 a.m. Pacific (2:30 p.m. Eastern) on CBC.
Top scorer: David Villa, five goals
Top scorer: Thomas Mueller and Miroslav Klose, four goals each
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This hotly-anticipated semifinal clash, a rematch of the Euro 2008 final, should be a great one. Spain entered the tournament as co-favourites with Brazil, but they got off to a slow start with a loss to Switzerland. They haven't been particularly impressive since then either, but they've gotten it done, winning their group at the last second and then beating Portugal and Paraguay to make it to the semifinals. They've turned in a solid team effort defensively, only conceding two goals in the entire tournament to date, and that's been a large part of their success. It's been mostly a one-man show offensively, though; David Villa has five of the Spaniards' six goals, while Andres Iniesta has the sixth.
The Germans have displayed a much more balanced offensive output thus far, and they're going to need that to continue to have success today. Thomas Mueller, their co-scoring leader with four goals, will miss today's match thanks to an accumulation of yellow cards. Miroslav Klose has also been superb for the Germans, though, collecting four goals in this year's tournament and 14 World Cup goals overall. He's now tied with West German legend Gerd Muller for second all-time on the World Cup goal-scoring list, behind only Ronaldo. The Germans have tons of offensive options beyond Klose as well, including Lukas Podolski, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mesut Oezil. The revamping of their entire system Jurgen Klinsmann began has continued under Joachim Loew, and as Klinsmann writes, an offensive focus has been a huge part of that. The German side has been more impressive than Spain to date, particularly in their 4-0 quarterfinal destruction of Argentina. If the Germans can maintain that focus despite the loss of Mueller and continue to attack in numbers, this could be a great day for them.
Prediction: Germany 3, Spain 1