Torres on Spain bench in WCup semifinal vs Germany

Fernando Torres was dropped to the bench for Spain’s World Cup

semifinal match against Germany on Wednesday.

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque selected David Villa as a lone

striker with Pedro Rodriguez taking the struggling Torres’ place

for Wednesday’s match at Moses Mabhida Stadium.

Germany coach Joachim Loew picked Piotr Trochowski to replace

suspended winger Thomas Mueller. Forward Miroslav Klose needs one

more goal to draw level with former Brazil striker Ronaldo’s record

15 on the all-time World Cup list.

Klose has four goals for this tournament, one fewer than

Netherlands playmaker Wesley Sneijder and Villa.

Wednesday’s match is a reprise of the 2008 European Championship

final in Vienna, which Spain won 1-0. Six players from each teams’

lineup also started that final.

Torres scored the winning goal in the 2008 final – the last

meeting between the teams – but he will watch the start of the

match from the bench for the first time since the loss to

Switzerland in Spain’s opening group match.

Spain’s starting team was comprised of seven Barcelona players,

including Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta and Pedro, who will make

his first start for Spain in his fifth international

appearance.

Cesc Fabregas is also on the bench for the sixth straight match

after entering the tournament with shoulder and right leg

injuries.

Germany may have outscored opponents 13-2 and eliminated England

and Argentina to reach the last four but it will be without

Mueller, who has hit four goals.

Playmaker Mesut Oezil will lead the three-time champions in a

midfield that also contains Bastian Schweinsteiger, Sami Khedira

and Lukas Podolski.

Spain is playing in its first World Cup semifinal. It finished

fourth in 1950 when a final group stage determined the eventual

winner.

Germany has won two of their three previous World Cup meetings,

their last being a 1-1 draw in 1994.

The winner plays the Netherlands in Sunday’s final at

Johannesburg’s Soccer City stadium.

The loser will play Uruguay for third place on Saturday in Port

Elizabeth’s Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

Lineups

Germany: Manuel Neuer, Philipp Lahm, Per Mertesacker, Arne

Friedrich, Jerome Boateng, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Sami Khedira,

Piotr Trochowski, Mesut Oezil, Lukas Podolski, Miroslav Klose.

Spain: Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique,

Joan Capdevila, Sergio Busquets, Xabi Alonso, Xavi Hernandez,

Andres Iniesta, Pedro Rodriguez, David Villa.