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By BRETT HUSTON
(AP) -- Germany heads into the World Cup semifinals ripe with experience in the late stages of soccer's biggest tournament, while Spain enters uncharted territory this deep in the knockout phase.
That isn't to say La Furia Roja doesn't know what it's getting into.
Beating the Germans in the Euro 2008 final did much to shed Spain's reputation as an international underachiever, but Germany will be eager to avenge that loss Wednesday night in Durban as it seeks a spot in a record eighth World Cup final.
Spain's soccer history had, until recently, been defined by its failures on the sport's biggest stages. It hadn't advanced past the World Cup quarterfinals since the knockout stage began in 1954, and it entered Euro 2008 without a continental title since 1964.
That changed thanks to Fernando Torres' goal, which helped Spain knock off Germany 1-0 in the Euro final and vault to the top of the FIFA rankings. It entered this World Cup ranked No. 2, and Saturday's 1-0 win over Paraguay sent the country to the tournament's final four for the first time since 1950.
"We beat Germany two years ago and I don't think they are happy to meet us again," said striker David Villa, whose goal Saturday was his tournament-high fifth. "But we have to forget about that game. Without a World Cup (win), it's like we've achieved nothing."
Germany, meanwhile, has won three World Cups and finished as runner-up four more times, but this run for coach Joachim Loew's squad is somewhat of a surprise. Even without injured captain Michael Ballack, the Germans have a tournament-best 13 goals after Saturday's 4-0 quarterfinal rout of Argentina.
Miroslav Klose scored two times against La Albiceleste - he's now one shy of Brazil's Ronaldo for the all-time World Cup scoring lead (15) - but perhaps the most impressive aspect of Germany's win was shutting down star striker Lionel Messi.
Loew sees Spain as a far more formidable opponent, however.
"For me, Spain is the favorite for the title," said Loew, who refused to acknowledge revenge for the Euro 2008 loss as something motivating the Germans. "Spain has not one Messi, but several Messis who can decide a game."
The pressure will be on Klose to deliver Wednesday with attacking midfielder Thomas Mueller - his equal with four goals - out due to yellow card accumulation.
While Mueller is one of many new faces on Germany's roster, Spain's is remarkably similar to the one that won Euro 2008. Villa missed that final due to a leg injury but will be a marked man this time.
Torres may not be. Coach Vicente del Bosque might keep the struggling Liverpool star out of the starting lineup.
Del Bosque does expect to have his full squad available with the news that midfielder Cesc Fabregas plans to play despite a sore shoulder.
Germany has beaten Spain twice in three World Cup matches, with the powers most recently tying 1-1 during the 1994 group stage in Chicago.
Updated July 5, 2010