Klose or Villa - who will prove decisive?

July 6th, 2010 - 10:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Bayern Munich Durban, July 6 (DPA) Wednesday’s semi-final between Spain and Germany throws together two record-breaking strikers who will both be hoping to propel their teams to the trophy.
Spain will be hoping that their quicksilver striker David Villa will continue to dominate proceedings as he has in the side’s previous games. His invaluable goalscorer’s knack has seen him find the net five times, pulling his team to victory in its last four games and establishing him as the tournament’s leading goalscorer.

But Germany’s Miroslav Klose can never be counted out. The veteran 32-year-old striker rarely does anything spectacular, but you can always count on him finding the net for his nation. The Polish-born hitman is now his country’s joint leading World Cup scorer after his four goals at this year’s tournament helped him match Gerd Mueller’s tally of 14, and he is just two short of Brazilian Ronaldo’s all-time record.

Klose’s success has surprised many, especially since he spent most of the season on the bench at Bayern Munich, scoring only six goals in 38 appearances.

His record when wearing the national team jersey is a lot better - he has 52 goals in just 100 appearances, and even when he doesn’t find the net he helps create chances for his teammates with his knack of pulling defenders out of position.

The 1.80 metre striker has a reputation for modesty and a simple lifestyle off the pitch. But he does his talking in the opponents’ penalty area.

Never a moaner when things fail to go his way, Klose’s response has always been to work harder and seek to fix deficiencies in his game. “I’m basically a relaxed and honest guy, but that can change in an instant out on the field,” he told FIFA.com.

He had a good start at this year’s tournament, nabbing one of the goal’s in the 4-0 trouncing of Australia. But he was widely criticized when two rash challenges against Serbia saw him get a red card and help send the team to its only defeat of the tournament so far.

He was back to his best against England, when his speed and power helped him latch on to a long punt for the first goal, and his intelligent running created huge gaps in the heart of the defence that were gratefully exploited by his team-mates. He nabbed two

well-taken goals against Argentina, where once again his tireless running and aerial presence were a constant threat.

David Villa is a very different sort of striker. Able to operate as a central attacker, an offensive midfielder or out on the left-side of attack, he is a slight, quicksilver figure who at the age of 28 is just one short of equaling Raul’s all time scoring record for Spain of 44.

He was the top scorer of Euro 2008, and is currently the leader for the World Cup Golden Boot thanks to his crucial five strikes so far. His perpetual movement make him almost impossible to man mark, and his instinctive goal getting skills appear to only get better when his is under pressure - as he has demonstrated in the tournament

so far.

Signed recently by Barcelona for 40 million euros he is known as a tireless worker for the team who is always ready to track back and help on defence. Villa is also known as a modest man eager to share credit with his teammates.

“I just work hard,” is how he explains his success at the World Cup. “All I want is to be in the team for every game, to have the Spain badge on my chest and to score as many goals as I can.”

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