Durban: Spain and Germany will clash against each other in a classic Semi-final encounter with both teams searching for a win to book a place in the finals at Johannesburg.
Two years ago Spain defeated the Germans with their trademark possession football play, with domination in the midfield to lift the Euro 2008 championship. The Spanish side were in top-form then, they had ousted the Italians in the quarter-finals coming into the finals of 2008. But now its a whole new scenario altogether, with the Germans demolishing the English side and the Argentinians, they look favorites going into the Semi-finals.
Coming into the World Cup finals, the Germans had suffered a major blow with their star captain Micheal Ballack ruled out of the competition due to injury and they were considered an inexperienced side by most experts and critics.
But Lahm and his young German side have proved the critics wrong and have made a major statement with their performance on field throughout the competition. The youth have proved their mettle until this stage and prove to be a real threat going into the match against Spain.
The youngsters Thomas Mueller, Ozil have blended well with the senior players, Podolski, Klose in the forward line finding the all important goals for the Germans. No side has scored more goals in the tournament than Germany"s 13.
But Coach Joachim Loew will be without the services of Thomas Mueller, who is suspended, Toni Kroos could come in for Mueller on the right.
Klose who is one goal behind Brazilian Ronaldo's record of 15 goals, all time highest goal scorer in World Cup competition will be eying his record and possibly overhaul him.
Bastian Schweinsteiger has a played a firm role with his huge presence along with Sami Khedira who is recovering from a thigh injury but is likely to start in the Semi-final clash. The duo were excellent against the Argentinians especially against Lionel Messi restricting him and not allowing much space for the best player in the world to score against them. They will hold a key if they are to unsettle Spanish midfield play and stop Villa, top scorer in the World Cup so far from making a breakthrough.
On the other side Vicente Del Bosque's side will be hoping that the Spanish team can repeat their Euro 2008 feat and upset the Germans.
According to the statistics, Spain has been the most attacking side though they have not been able to find goals like Germany. The Spanish side have struggled to find goals and have had tough matches coming into the semi-finals.
Their star striker Fernando Torres, who scored the only goal in Euro 2008 finals, has failed to find his form and the la furia roja will once again be heavily dependent on David Villa and the mid-field to find goals against the confident German side.
Mid-fielder Iniesta along with Xavi has been in top form for the Spanish side and the team will be heavily relying on them to trick the Germans out.
Meanwhile Del Bosque is likely to stick with the winning combination. There are talks that misfiring Torres might be asked to start from the bench.
So who will it be?? Germany or Spain??
Any Predictions? A lesson learnt with time in this World Cup, predictions not to be made.
Meanwhile, Paul the Octopus this time has picked up Spain to run away with the match.
Players to watch out for:
Germany: Miroslav Klose, Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil, Bastian Schweinsteiger
Spain: Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez, David Villa, Cesc Fabregas