With all due respect to the Netherlands and Uruguay, this is the semi-final that we've all been having naughty thoughts about. Germany coach Joachin Löw has promised not to change the way his team plays today, insisting that "being passive will not help us." Which has got Andres Iniesta's nostrils twitching: "If they attack more, there will be more space. I don't know how the game will pan out... we both like to get forward a lot." It could be an after-effect of the triple-shot cappuccino I quaffed this afternoon, but my heart is thumping just thinking about this match.
Without the suspended Thomas Müller to call upon, Löw has named Hamburg's Piotr Trochowski on the right side of midfield. That could mean a busy night for Joan Capdevila, since he's a bit trickier to handle than (the nonetheless majestic) Müller, though he's generally not as reliable in terms of the end product. Vicente del Bosque has dropped Fernando Torres, who hasn't looked fit so far. Spain has consistently looked more frightening without him, but it's Barcelona's Pedro who gets the nod ahead of Cesc Fabregas. He doesn't always play like his Youtube highlights, but already knows how to play alongside fellow midfielders Xavi and Iniesta, and can fair strike a ball.
Germany: Manuel Neuer, Philipp Lahm, Per Mertesacker, Arne Friedrich, Jerome Boateng, Sami Khedira, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Piotr Trochowski, Mesut Özil, Lukas Podolski, Miroslav Klose.
Spain: Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol, Joan Capdevila, Xabi Alonso, Sergio Busquets, Pedro, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, David Villa.
Now, the theme for today's email chitchat is childhood sports memories. Get scribbling.