Spain vs Germany: Proactive and reactive styles collide
I'm still of the opinion that Germany have been made to look better than they are by the tactical (Argentina) and technical (England) naivety of the teams they've faced so far in the tournament.
It has also helped that the Germans have scored first in all their matches that they've won, allowing them to play their favoured counter-attacking style for the rest of the match and finishing off teams trying to get on level terms. We saw that against England and of course, Argentina.
Even when watching the Argentina game I couldn't imagine Spain being outclassed in this manner.
The manner of defeat inflicted on Argentina was more to do with the absolute tactical naiveté of Diego Maradona at not being able to see that they were losing the midfield battle completely. And in contrast, it is almost impossible to win the midfield battle against Spain with Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas, Xabi Alonso and Sergio Busquets each capable of holding his own against any opposition.
The key in this game would be to prevent Germany from scoring first. The only game where they didn't score first and had to chase the game was against Serbia (they lost).
You have to get teams to change from their favored approach which is exactly what the German coach is proposing when he says his team has to get Spain to make errors. This leads me to believe they might play a quick pressing game and we know how it threw the Spaniards off their game against Paraguay. Swiss won against the Spaniards by scoring a fluke goal and then just defending in numbers and keeping it narrow.
If the Germans score first, I think Spain would have a very difficult task of breaking them down. On the other hand if Spain do actually get to half-time with 0-0 or a 1-0 lead, Germans would have to change their plan and do away with their counterattacking style. This would seem to suit Spain because they're technically much superior to the Germans.
With Mueller out of this game, there is one less headache for Spain and I'd have been a little concerned with Capdevilla's ability to pickup up Mueller. Busquets can control Ozil with his deep lying role and I am confident in Sergio Ramos' ability to keep Podolski in check.
The threat of Schweinsteiger, in particular, and Khedira could be negated by Xavi, Iniesta and Fabregas with their pressing and neat triangles. The German backline also hasn't been really tested so far and I have my doubts about Jerome Boateng, the left-back and the center-back pairing of Freidrich and Mertesacker. The one big threat that the Germans do pose, however, is free-kicks and corner-kicks and here they have a clear height advantage against the smallish Spaniards.
All in all it makes for a terribly absorbing semi-final clash and here's hoping Spain win this to make it to the finals.