Spain advances to first World Cup Finals

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, South Africa
Image: Marc Forrest.
(Image missing from Commons: image; log)

Spain defeated Germany 1–0 in the semifinals to advance Spain to its first World Cup Finals in its history. Played in Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, South Africa, the game was a re-do of the 2008 European Championship final, in which Spain also won 1–0. About 60,960 people, including Spain's Queen Sofía, were in attendance.

The game got off to an interesting start after an Italian fan invaded the pitch in the fourth minute, briefly interrupting the game. A first half dominated both by the German defense and the increasingly powerful offense kept both teams scoreless at halftime. Spain used the second half to threaten the German goal. In the 57th minute, Spain's David Villa came within inches of scoring on an Andrés Iniesta cross, and Sergio Ramos was equally close to convert Xabi Alonso's pass. Carles Puyol scored the lone goal in the 73rd minute by heading in Xavi's corner kick. As the game came to an end, the German team was visibly distraught, while fans of the Spanish team partied until late at night, waving flags and singing "Ole! Ole! Ole!".

Villa later said, "This is one of the greatest moments for Spain, for us to be in the final of the World Cup, it's history. And we want to make more history in the final."

In addition to being Spain's first finals appearance, the Netherlands' defeat of Uruguay on Tuesday advanced the Netherlands to the finals as well. As neither team has won the World Cup before, this match-up ensures that either the Netherlands or Spain will come out having won the World Cup for the first time. It will also be the two teams' first ever match against each other in the World Cup. Uruguay and Germany will play each other for third place on Saturday at 18:30 UTC, while the finals will be on Sunday 18:30 UTC.