Torres on the bench for Spain

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.


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.