In a rematch of the 2008 European Championship final that Spain won by the same score, Puyol leaped in the center of the area in the 73rd minute to score from Xavi Hernandez’s corner kick, finally giving Spain the lead after having dominated from the opening whistle.
“The group deserves this but we want more,” said Spain striker David Villa, who is tied with Netherlands playmaker Wesley Sneijder for the tournament scoring lead with five goals each. “We are happy to be in the final, that was our objective, but now we want to be champions.”
In Sunday’s final at Soccer City, Spain will meet the Netherlands, which has also never won football’s biggest trophy.
Spain controlled throughout with its precision passing game, playing just the way it hoped to, but had trouble finishing until Puyol’s late strike.
At the final whistle, Puyol raised his arms in triumph as goalkeeper Iker Casillas jumped on the center back’s shoulders.
It was a sharp change from Germany’s last two outings, when it scored four goals each in impressive victories over England and Argentina.
Germany sorely missed suspended winger Thomas Mueller, who had scored four goals so far and was often able to outsprint opponents.
“We had great plans but it didn’t work out.”
“They’ve won all the big games in the last year. It’s a good team that has played together now for two or three years,” the Germany coach said. “I am sure the Spanish can win any game because they are dominant and it’s hard to contain their attack.”