Germany v Spain: Historic excellence vs pure talent

Historically, there’s no comparison between Germany and Spain.

Except for 1930, 1938, 1950 and 1978 Germany has been right up there in the final stages of the World Cup. Three quarterfinals, four semifinals, four runners up and of course three times champions out of their 17 appearances.

Whereas, Spain was fourth in 1950 and reached the quarterfinals in 1934, 1986, 1994 and 2002. This is probably their best World Cup performance on the back of their second Euro win and a two year undefeated run.

As Spain faces-off with Germany as the last hurdle between them and their first ever World Cup final, they will surely need to create a strategy that 1. suits their style of play and 2. the Germans can’t catch on to it. Spanish midfield is undoubtedly one of the best in the world but Bastian Schweinsteiger and co have been doing their midfield work quite nicely as well.

In the offense, Germany has unleashed their fury on top notch teams (Argentina and England) already and they will not hesitate to do so against the Spaniards unless they are afraid to do so. So far, Fernando Torres has been stuck in his own boots but he did show some spark against Paraguay.

Would Vicente Del Bosque consider replacing an under-performing superstar with a hardworking second choice striker? If he is to do that, Pedro Rodriguez seems to be his best option – not because I’m a Barcelona fan but because statistically, in the three appearances he has made, he has played only for 30 minutes in total as compared to 269 minutes for Torres. He created half the number of chances Torres did, he was more frequent in his passing and more accurate and he won half of the duels he went into.

Other options are Fernando Llorente and David Silva. Silva was a disappointment in the only game he played against Switzerland, then again, the whole Spanish team was and Llorente got as much time on the pitch in one game that Pedro got in three which came to no avail either.

In midfield, their most accurate player has been Sergio Busquets with 91% of his passes finding the desired receiver. Out of the rest of the midfield group: Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Xabi Alonso and Cesc Fabregas; Cesc is the least featured player. Probably the reason why he has been more effective, creating chances, rotating the ball and even going for goal once.

On the other side of France, Germany has been the most clinical of the lot. Netting 13 goals in 5 games, that is, converting 21% of the chances. Not just that, out of the top five most clinical goal-scorers in this World Cup who have scored three or more goals, two are German: Thomas Muller (first, converted 57% of his chances) and Miroslav Klose (fourth, 40% of his chances).

Also see: Germany vs Spain Semifinal preview.

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