Jordi Alba’s goal on the stroke of half-time was enough to book Spain’s place in the quarter-finals, but only after Germany saw the officials rule out two goals and had a penalty saved in St Petersburg this afternoon. Spain will play the winners of tomorrow’s Ghana v. England clash.
Germany made five changes from the side that drew with Ireland: In came Schwaab, Boateng, Goretzka, Draxler and Gómez to replace Lahm, Holtby, Schmelzer, Götze and Schürrle. Just one Spanish change from their win over Serbia: Andrés Iniesta replacing the suspended Thiago.
Iniesta’s match lasted less than five minutes as he fell awkwardly in a challenge with Marco Reus and after trying to run the injury off, was replaced by José Enrique. Shortly after, with Spain reorganising in midfield, Germany had goal celebrations cut short.
Jerome Boateng sent a deep, long ball forward into the box for Mario Gómez who got on the end of the delivery at the same time as Iker Casillas and sent the ball, himself and the Spanish goalkeeper into the back of the net, with the Italian officials ruling it out.
On 20 minutes, the referee was on centre-stage again when he pointed to the spot when Reus and Enrique tangled by the goal-line after Casillas saved a 20-yard effort by Julian Draxler. While there was certainly contact, it looked 50:50 at worst. Nevertheless, VAR agreed with the man in the middle.
Toni Kroos had the responsibility, and put it at perfect height for Casillas who dived to his left and pushed the spotkick away. Reus and Enrique once again tangled for the loose ball but all that was given was a throw-in. Five minutes later and Gómez challenged Casillas in the air to head home a Reus free-kick lofted into the six-yard box, but referee Paolo Tagliavento’s whistle once again sounded to disallow it.
It took Spain until the 36th minute to register a shot at Manuel Neuer’s goal, but Enrique’s effort was well wide when he had time to take another touch and test the German ‘keeper one-on-one.
In the final first-half minute, the decisive blow was finally struck. Victor Ruiz’s great challenge on a full-flight Draxler won the ball back for Spain and Rodrigo collected it on the right flank. Skipping past a challenge from Boateng and doing Sebastian Rode for pace, he whipped a delivery across the face of goal for Jordi Alba to volley home at the far post.
After the break, with challenges flying in from both sides and seven yellow cards being show, Reus and Gómez both came close in the closing moments to snatch an equaliser that never came.
FIFA WORLD CUP: SECOND ROUND GERMANY 0-1 SPAIN Kroos m/pen 21 Alba 45 Gómez Mata Rode Alba Reus Enrique Ramos