Spain need to improve for clash with German juggernaut
While Spain remain joint favourites to win the World Cup, the German juggernaut awaiting them in the semi-finals will be their sternest challenge yet.
Both sides are 13/8 to win inside 90 minutes, which reflects just how closely fought this encounter will be.
Germany produced the performance of the tournament so far as they brought Argentina to their knees with a thrilling 4-0 win.
Spain, in stark contrast, were somewhat fortunate to claim a narrow 1-0 victory against Paraguay, and a vast improvement is imperative if they are to beat Germany.
When the two sides met at the Euro 2008 final, Spain were 1-0 winners, and a repeat victory for Vicente Del Bosque’s side is priced at 5/1.
With Germany’s propensity for high-octane counter-attacking, however, this semi-final is unlikely to be a low-scoring affair.
Even though they’ve been very convincing going forward, there remains some doubt about Germany’s defence.
David Villa (3/1 to score first) will be a handful for Germany’s immobile centre-back Per Mertesacker, who will be hoping his team-mates in holding midfield, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira, will offer him the necessary protection.
While Argentina’s midfield misfired badly and were isolated from their forwards during the quarter-final, Germany had free reign of the middle third of the pitch.
Against Spain, however, they will be up against a side that packs the midfield with a multitude of playmakers.
Xavi, Andres Iniesta and their colleagues disappointed against Paraguay, and they will have to improve considerably if they are to overcome Germany.
Del Bosque could be tempted to drop Fernando Torres after a lean spell up front, and he could recall Cesc Fabregas and play the Arsenal captain in an advanced midfield role. Fabregas is 12/1 to score first in the semi-final.
Is this game too close to call? The draw is 23/10. See the full Germany vs Spain market.