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Schweinsteiger - Spain are favourites
Published : 06 Jul 2010 16:31:17
Bastian Schweinsteiger insists Spain are the favourites for Wednesday's World Cup semi-final encounter in Durban, despite Germany being the most impressive team in South Africa so far.
Apart from a group stage blip against Serbia, Joachim Low's team have steamrollered almost every team that has crossed their path, including England and Argentina in the knockout stages, but the Spaniards, one of the pre-tournament favourites, have been far more subdued, battling their way through almost every round.
But Schweinsteiger insists the side that beat them in the Euro 2008 final two years ago are still "the better team on paper" and said: "On paper Spain are still the better team but I think we have shown in our last two games that we can beat teams that appear the better ones on paper."
He added: "For me, Spain are the best team in the world. It will be tough just like it was against England and Argentina but I've a lot of faith in this team because we've seen what we can do if we all pull together."
The Germans, who came into the competition without being given much chance of winning, have silenced many of the doubters with their attacking brand of play, a change from previous years where they were known for their defensive prowess.
They are the leading scorers at the finals with 13 goals and new faces like Thomas Muller, Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil have all been revelations.
Schweinsteiger continued: "Now we have fresh faces and different characters - an unencumbered state of mind.
"The younger players who have come in have gained experienced during this tournament.
"Spain haven't changed that much. Sergio Busquets has replaced Marcos Senna but otherwise they are pretty much the same team as two years ago."