"Germany have never before played like this," exclaimed Franz Beckenbauer Monday as he looked forward to his compatriots' FIFA World Cup™ semi-final with Spain in Durban on Wednesday.

The Germans, despite having an average age of just 25, have swept through to the last four after thumping England and Argentina and now the "Kaiser" thinks they can land a fourth world title. "The way they play, their style, is fantastic. Everybody on the move, wanting the ball - the team spirit is tremendous. Nobody in Germany expected to see them play so well. The players deserve this," said former winning skipper and coach Beckenbauer. "You have to go back 20 years to a see a as strong a German side as this, playing so well - when we won the title in 1990."

Schweinsteiger has had an exceptional season - he is the new superstar, the best player at the World Cup right now.

Beckenbauer's high praise for German midfielder

Germany have been remarkably consistent with runs at least to the World Cup quarter-finals since 1954, the year of their first title. "This is historic - you can always count on Germany. We do not have players such as Pele, but there is this sense of being ready to fight, tactical awareness and also the capacity to concentrate to the maximum for the World Cup," he explained.

Beckenbauer singled out the showing of muscular midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, who took Argentina to the cleaners with an imperious showing in the 4-0 win."Schweinsteiger has had an exceptional season - he is the new superstar, the best player at the World Cup right now," he said.

Alluding to the multicultural element of this year's vintage with players of Polish, Turkish, Ghanaian and Brazilian origin in the team, Beckenbauer said: "This team shows the new face of Germany thanks to [Mesut] Ozil, [Sami] Khedira, [Jerome] Boateng... who were not born in Germany but who have a German passport."

Beckenbauer also forecast Germany would see off Spain to book a final with the Netherlands, as was the case when he was German captain in 1974.