WORLD CUP

Spain Advances to Final

For the first time in its history, Spain will play in a World Cup final. Carles Puyol’s towering header in the 74th minute was enough to secure the 1-0 victory and make a date with the Netherlands in Johannesburg on Sunday. That matchup guarantees that this World Cup will produce a first-time winner. (The Dutch will be playing in their first final since 1978.) Spain dominated possession for much of the game, while Germany’s free-flowing style seemed to desert the team. Instead, Joachim Löw’s men seemed content to sit back and wait for counterattacking opportunities. But Spain, playing as if it had extra men on the field, never cracked. An excellent save from goalkeeper Iker Casillas denied Toni Kroos with the score at 0-0, and Germany never threatened after that. And so, two years after Spain sank Germany in the final of Euro 2008, La Furia Roja dashed the Germans’ hopes once again.