Spain made it this far without even hitting its stride. The team is overdue for a breakout game, and is primed for it to come in Wednesday's Spain vs Germany semifinal.
The Red Fury has yet to get furious this World Cup, but that’s bound to change. How long can the team with the most top-rated players – a co-favorite to win it all – go without having a breakout game?
Nor do they have the tournament's top scorer, David Villa.
Here are the top three reasons why Spain will beat Germany:
Spain follows the old-fashioned notion (once nearly a fixed fact) that possession of the ball wins soccer games. But it makes sense: If you have the ball, your opponent cannot score. Spain knocks the ball around in a sophisticated and artistic game of keepaway that takes control of the game, dictates its terms, and grinds out victories. The Spaniards have been patient with their style, and it’s taken them to the semifinals. And this is without high-quality performances from some of their best players, including Fernando Torres, who has yet to be the scoring threat that he normally is. Spain could win big if it finally hits its stride against Germany.
Tiki-what? Tiki-Taka is Spanish onomatopoeia for the sound the ball makes when Spain’s top-rated offense is quickly passing it through even the tightest of defenses. In recent years they’ve become known for their methodical short-passing game. Players work little give-and-go passes and short runs in traffic. When they catch the defense sleeping, they strike with a quick heel pass or deft chip into the box. Spain’s inability to dominate teams so far this World Cup has some critics questioning if the Tiki-Taka style of play. But it’s proven effective before.
3) David Villa
David Villa could be the difference in this match. The shark-like striker with sideburns and a soul-patch beneath his bottom lip is the tournament’s leading scorer with five goals. With all of Spain’s other world-class scoring threats coming up empty so far, Villa is the reason Spain is still in the tournament. When he gets that look in his eye, watch out. The ball is not long for the back of the net.
Don't buy the argument? Read "Three reasons why Germany will beat Spain."
World Cup 101:
You might also want to check out this opinion essay on Germany's game spirit: Opinion: the case for German pride