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Spain-Germany: Why David Villa will win duel of the strikers

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Rebecca Blackwell/AP Photo

(Read caption) Spain's David Villa, right, controls the ball ahead of Paraguay's Paulo Da Silva, left, during the World Cup quarterfinal soccer match between Paraguay and Spain at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, July 3.

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Today’s epic Spain-Germany semifinal could well shape up to be a tale of two strikers.

Spain has got this World Cup’s leading scorer, David Villa, who’s currently in pole position to win the Golden Boot with his five goals.

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But Germany’s got the second all-time leading World Cup scorer in Miroslav Klose, whose 14 World Cup goals are trumped only by the 15 scored by Brazil’s Ronaldo, who no longer plays.

Both are saying that their respective goal-scoring records don’t matter nearly as much as their team winning this World Cup. And if you believe that, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn I want to sell you.

But here’s the thing: The two are not mutually exclusive. In order to win this World Cup, one of those two men will probably have to put the Jabulani in the back of the net a few more times.

Which one will it be?

That’s a tough call.

Unlike other many other strikers, the cold-blooded Klose rarely misses an opportunity. If he gets decent service from teammates on a cross or a pass slotted through the defense, he does what it takes to score. He can muscle even the most stout defenders off the ball and finish the way he did to England’s Matt Upson in the Round of 16 match. And he can score on shots, toe pokes, volleys, or headers – it doesn’t matter. Klose finishes.

But I haven’t seen Klose score by taking on defenders and making something out of nothing as often as David Villa has, at least not in this World Cup.

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Plus, Klose will have to sneak the ball past Spain’s Iker Casillas, the world’s best goalkeeper in the mind of many. Villa ought to have an easier time beating Germany’s Manuel Neuer.

Advantage, Spain.

For more, read "Three reasons why Spain will beat Germany."

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