Open ThreadTactics

2nd Semifinal, Germany v Spain: Preview/Open Thread

July 7, 2010 — by Suman13

Probable starting lineups (via

We’re just 90 minutes away from kickoff in the 2nd semifinal, to decide who will play the Netherlands in the final game on Sunday.  This matchup between European powers is highly anticipated; more so than yesterday’s Holland-Uruguay match was, but we can only hope that this one lives up to the expectations and turns out to be as exciting as yesterday’s 3-2 victory for Holland.

What better way to get a preview of today’s match than to revisit the finals of the Euro 2008 tournament, played on June 29, 2008 in Vienna’s  Ernst Happel Stadion, when Germany and Spain clashed with nearly as much as stake as today.  Spain prevailed that day 1-0, off a goal by striker Fernando Torres–whose struggles to score in this World Cup have become something of a story line for followers of the Spanish side.

On the other hand, the striker who has been scoring for Spain in this tournament, David Villa, did not even play in that Euro final, due to injury.  And on the other side, Germany’s revelation in the midfield, the young and dynamic Mesut Ozil, was not on the German squad.

Hence the indispensable Zonal Marking begins their tactical preview of today’s match (from whence we’ve pulled the probably starting lineup chart above):

The pre-tournament favourites versus the most impressive team in the competition so far. A repeat of the 2008 European Championships final it may be, but this is completely different contest.

For a start, David Villa and Mesut Ozil – the two star men – were not involved two years ago. Of the Germans, only Miroslav Klose, Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski remain in the same positions from that final, whilst Spain will start with a different formation to in 2008, even the side contains a number of the same players.

Click thru to read ZonalMarking’s full preview for more details on who Spain and Germany might play, individual matchups to watch, etc.  We’ll just add some notes that came up via an IM conversation with Coach Larry this morning:

The two teams have similar lineups: same formations, similar attacking outside backs (Sergio Ramos & Philip Lahm, respectively), same holding midfielders (writes Zonal Marking: “There is no other match-up in this tournament that would feature such composed, intelligent footballers in the midfield. In terms of ball retention, Sergio Busquets, Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Xabi Alonso are near-unbeatable, but Germany’s midfield trio [Ozil, Schweinsteiger, Khedira] have been even more impressive in this tournament.”

The CultFootball brain trust is meeting to watch this game together at WoodworkBK in beautifully hot and sweltering Brooklyn.  If we can set up the laptop and get on their wifi, we’ll liveblog from there.  If not, we’ll rely on you to light up the comments thread!


  • Larry

    July 7, 2010 at 1:12 PM

    Of the two sides, ESP much more likely to work hard to maintain possession and keep the pace slow, as it is their preferred style. GER will strive to pressure ESP all over, much in the mode of PAR (or even USA back in Confed Cup). Most likely, GER will be less successful in this, as they are not nearly as a disciplined team defensive side as PAR. Neither Podolski nor Ozil have the inclination to keep that sort of shape consistently. Plus, almost certainly, GER will enjoy the opportunity to counter quickly, so this probably hurts them less. Khedira will have his work cut out for him if this occurs, as will Busquets watching Schweinsteiger.
    Personnel-wise, it feels time for del Bosque to bench Torres, saving him for a final 30 minutes, where he might be able to focus his effort in the shorter period. Plus be available for possible extra-time.
    Will the Germans continue to play free of pressure due to their youth or will the expectations of the nation start to weigh?
    Hopefully a classic encounter.

  • Larry

    July 7, 2010 at 2:13 PM

    At the brauhaud in lincoln square.

  • Larry

    July 7, 2010 at 2:41 PM

    Pitch looks a little heavy. They watered it before ned/svk. Maybe too much today

  • Larry

    July 7, 2010 at 2:49 PM

    Sergio ramos wastes a good ball from alonso

  • Larry

    July 7, 2010 at 3:01 PM

    First half hour to esp, but not much more than possession

  • Simon

    July 7, 2010 at 3:17 PM

    Seems overall like a cautious first half by both sides, good no call on the Ozil run into the box

  • Larry

    July 7, 2010 at 3:40 PM

    Puzzling. Like for like. Unless jansen is a penalty taker.

  • Simon

    July 7, 2010 at 3:59 PM

    They’ve traded some good opportunities the past ten minutes. Do you think Torres gets in regulation or do we see him in extra time?

  • Simon

    July 7, 2010 at 4:00 PM

    Great goal by Puyol!

  • Larry

    July 7, 2010 at 4:00 PM

    Puyol. After ger had its best stretch

  • Larry

    July 7, 2010 at 4:03 PM

    I would have had torres up, but sat him back down. Even if villa looks a little gassed.

  • Simon

    July 7, 2010 at 4:13 PM

    Agreed and Pedro showed his inexperience in no finding Torres on the break

  • Suman

    July 7, 2010 at 6:18 PM

    Thanks for showing up in the comments, Larry/Simon. Sean and I watched together at Woodwork (, but couldn’t connect to their wifi to comment during the game..looking fwd to Esp-Ned. Thoughts?

Comments are closed.