The first ever World Cup final on the African Continent will also be the first appearance by Spain in the final match of the most prestigious soccer tournament in the world. The Spanish defeated Germany 1-0 to advance to the final of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
With Queen Sofia cheering them on in the crowd, La Roja put on their best defensive performance yet against a young German Squad. A forceful header from center half Carles Puyol sent Spain to the tournament’s final match. The breakthrough came in the 73rd minute off a Xavi corner kick that seemed to break the will of the Germans.
Just a year ago on African soil, Spain was upset by an American team riding lady luck 2-0 in the semifinal of the 2009 Confederations Cup.
David Villa has been the catalyst for Spain since suffering that disappointing defeat. He is currently tied with the Netherlands Wesley Sneijder for top goal scorer at the tournament with five. Villa has scored all but two of Spain’s goals.
“This is one of the greatest moments for Spain, for us to be in the final of the World Cup, it’s history,” said Villa. “And we want to make more history in the final.”
Spain’s next match will be for their first World Cup title against the Netherlands Sunday in Johannesburg at Soccer City Stadium. More than 84,000 fans will be on hand to witness the two teams battle it out for the championship. The Netherlands are also going for their first World Cup golden trophy.
Xavi has been an integral part of Spain’s success by becoming the eighth player in World Cup history to complete at least 100 passes since 1966. He created seven chances Wednesday that put him in the lead at the tournament with 25. The midfielder also has 509 passes completed, making him the second player ever to complete more than 500 at a World Cup. The other is Brazil’s Dunga, who recorded 589 in the Los Angeles tournament in 1994.
While the Spanish passes set the tone for their offense, the story for the Germans was their failure to do so. Bastian Schweinsteiger completed just over 76 percent, and play maker Mesut Ozil completed just 78 percent. German coach Joachim Loew said the Spanish are the masters of keeping up their offensive tempo.
“I am sure the Spanish can win any game,” Loew said, “because they are dominant and it’s hard to contain their attack.”
Soccer sportsbooks have set Spain as the favorite to win the championship match with the Netherlands at +115 odds. The Netherlands’ underdog line is set at +235, and the over/under for total goals scored by both teams is set at 2.