Cesc Fabregas does not anticipate a repeat of the mind games that dominated the build-up to the Germany-Argentina clash when Spain take on Joachim Low's side in the FIFA World Cup semi-final on Wednesday. The Arsenal midfielder insists there is a "good relationship" between the two countries who met in the final of UEFA EURO 2008 when Fernando Torres' goal earned victory for Spain.
But Fabregas is unconcerned if Germany, who demolished England 4-1 and Argentina 4-0, are made favourites to win their last-four clash. He said: "We have watched all of Germany's games. When you are here, you don't stop watching football and we know every team. They are a very strong side, probably the strongest side in the tournament at the moment.
"As a team they are very quick on the counter-attack but defend very well. I like [Bastian] Schweinsteiger. He is playing really well. He is having a great World Cup. You never expect Argentina to lose 4-0 but in football today anyone can beat you."
Fabregas added: "I don't mind if Germany are favourites. If they want to be favourites, we will accept that. We just want to play the game, we want to be a strong team, we want to beat them, and we want to reach the final. We are proud of what we have achieved so far but we want to go all the way. We are very excited about the semi-final. It is the first time in our history we have reached the World Cup semi-final so we will try to do well in it."
We have watched all of Germany's games. . . . They are a very strong side, probably the strongest side in the tournament at the moment.
But Barcelona target Fabregas is also adamant the two teams will show respect for each other ahead of their meeting. He said: "Two years ago we played the European Championship final. We beat them, they could have beaten us. I don't think it is about mind games. These are two teams who have a very good relationship.
"I don't know if Germany had it with Argentina but I remember shaking all their hands at the end of the EURO final. We have a great relationship so I don't think there is going to be a problem."
David Villa will be looking to add to his five goals in the tournament - including Spain's late winner in their quarter-final success over Paraguay. But Fabregas has no thoughts one way or the other over claims from some pundits that Villa is currently the best striker in the world.
He said: "I don't care if he is the best or not. All that matters is he is playing really well and he is scoring goals and that is what we want. If they want to say he is the best, then he is the best. If not, we don't care because we know he is good for us."