The octopus won. And Spain won. I'm not sure which one of those facts stuns me more, that a cephalopod has accurately predicted a World Cup win for the sixth time or that powerhouse Germany, the favored team by many measures, lost today's semifinal 1-nil in a less-than-stellar but still nerve-wracking match against the Spaniards.
Spain now advances to the final against the Netherlands this Sunday at 2:30 p.m. EST. Can you wait? I can't.
Germany lost the psychological advantage early in the game, with feisty Spain powering several near misses toward the net and demonstrating superior footwork and passes. They just seemed totally on, unlike their rivals. Spain dominated in shots on net throughout the game, while Germany floundered with missed opportunities and poor follow-through in the first half.
The German defense remained strong throughout the match, and good for them else the score probably would have been a lot higher. Defensive play intensified in the more dramatic second half of the game.
A near miss in the Spanish net seemed to give the Germans a jolt and they picked up their attack ... but it wasn't enough. After Spain's Carles Puyol's out-of-nowhere header in the middle of the second half, it was all downhill from there.
This doesn't change too much for me. I wanted Germany to win, but I'd still be rooting for the Netherlands in Sunday's game regardless, as my 7-year-old decided they have the best-looking uniforms (he likes orange). That's about as technical as these games have been for me. I'll be so sad when it's over. Truly amazing soccer.
Now, what in the world is up with that octopus? Today's result means that Paul the Octopus is still undefeated in his record of accurately predicting World Cup wins, but he's only done so with teams playing Germany. Now that his home country is out of the running, will his next prediction stick? Word has it they are boosting security at the aquarium as we speak.