PARIS (AFP) - Lionel Messi, Kaka and Wayne Rooney left their World Cup shooting boots at home, but David Villa and Miroslav Klose are on a hot streak of goalscoring form as the tournament reaches its climax.
Both men have been averaging almost a goal a game as they battle with Thomas Mueller and Wesley Sneijder for the coveted Golden Boot.
Not only that, but Villa and Klose have further records in their sights.
|Spain's striker David Villa (front) and Paraguay's defender Paulo da Silva eye the ball during the quarter-final match Paraguay vs. Spain on July 3, 2010. AFP|
Germany's Klose chose his 100th appearance for Germany to claim his 13th and 14th goals at World Cup tournaments, the same tally as compatriot Gerd Mueller and one less than the all-time record held by Brazilian Ronaldo.
It is an astonishing turnaround for Klose, sent off in the second group game as Germany went down to Serbia.
At that point, it seemed the 32-year-old's World Cup career might be over, but a narrow win over Ghana in his absence handed him a reprieve and since he returned from suspension he has helped to bundle out England and tormented Argentina with a brace.
Four years ago, Klose won the sharpshooter's accolade on home soil even though his country only reached the semi-finals and now wants to become the first man to retain the award.
Villa, 28, meanwhile, suffered along with sidekick Fernando Torres in a shock opening loss to Switzerland.
But since then he has been unable to stop scoring, saving Spain in the round of 16 against Portugal and then against Paraguay in the last eight.
In contrast, Torres, the man whose goal against semi-final opponents Germany gave the Spanish their first silverware in 44 years at Euro 2008 has cut an increasingly disconsolate figure, having failed to score at all here although "he draws defenders' attention away from Villa," coach Vicente Del Bosque maintains.
Villa's next goal, starting with the game against Germany in Durban on Wednesday, is to score what would be his 44th goal in only his 64th international.
That would tie him with Raul's 44 from 102 games as Spain's all-time leading scorer.
But he is not on an ego trip.
"Finishing as the top scorer is the least of my concerns," says Villa. "The important thing is that we get to the final, whether through me scoring or someone else.
Klose himself is a big fan.
"Villa is an extraordinary player. I have always watched him and I'm happy to see him join Barcelona, a club which will suit him right down to the ground," says his German rival.
Villa has already become the top marksman for Spain in World Cup history with eight goals, leaving behind Spanish greats, Emilio Butragueno, Fernando Hierro, Fernando Morientes and Raul, who all netted five times at the tournament.