World Cup Soccer

Puyol's header powers Spain past Germany and into final

Durban, South Africa (Sports Network) - Carles Puyol's 73rd-minute header was enough for Spain to claim a 1-0 win over Germany at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Wednesday in a FIFA World Cup semifinal.

The win allows Spain to reach its first World Cup final, where it will play the Netherlands on Sunday, while Germany has lost in the semifinals for the second successive tournament and will face Uruguay in the third-place game on Saturday.

The goal came from a corner kick that was played into the middle of the penalty area by Xavi, allowing Puyol to run onto the ball and send a powerful header past Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer from 12 yards.

Spain went on the attack from the start and Pedro set up a good chance in the sixth minute when he slipped a pass into the box for David Villa, but Neuer came off his line to smother the shot.

Puyol then had a great opportunity eight minutes later when he headed the ball over the net from six yards.

The rest of the half failed to produce any real quality chances until the final minute, when Germany's Mesut Ozil dashed toward the net on a counter attack but went down after a little contact from Spain's Sergio Ramos as he approached the penalty area, drawing no interest from the referee.

A good spell of pressure by Spain early in the second half saw Xabi Alonso fire wide from 20 yards before Pedro's well-struck effort was saved by Neuer.

Andres Iniesta then followed up with a dangerous cross that just failed to connect with Villa at the back post as Spain continued to pressure.

Germany's best chance came in the 69th minute when Lukas Podolski's cross was volleyed on goal by substitute Toni Kroos, but it was hit too close to goalkeeper Iker Casillas and he was able to parry the effort.

Puyol then popped up in the box to head home the winning goal four minutes later, while Germany was unable to break down a well-organized Spanish defense in the final 15 minutes.

07/07 16:41:26 ET

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