Spain were described as the masters of football after reaching the first FIFA World Cup™ final in their history with a 1-0 victory against Germany.
The Spanish will play the Netherlands on Sunday at Soccer City, Johannesburg, in a match which pitches the great underachievers of world football against each other. Neither country has won football's greatest prize before.
But after central defender Carles Puyol scored the only goal of an intriguing rather than thrilling semi-final with a powerful header the FIFA World Cup is certain to have a new winners' name inscribed upon it. And Germany coach Joachim Low was the first to predict Spain would be crowned world champions.
Low, whose side were also beaten by Spain in the UEFA European Championship final two years ago, said: "Spain are a wonderful team. They are the masters of the game. You can see it in every pass. They can hardly be beaten. They are extremely calm and convincing. Spain were just better than we were and they deserved to win.
"In 2008 they won the European Championship in a very convincing way and they have been unchanged over the past two or three years. They play in an automatic way and I am confident they will win the title. They have put on top performances in all matches they have played and they can beat everyone. Over the past two or three years they have been the most skilled team of all. They circulate the ball quickly and we were not able to play like previous matches. We were not able to get rid of our inhibitions."
It was generous praise from the Germany boss, whose own side were a pale shadow of the vibrant team which had demolished England and Argentina in back-to-back matches. But while Spain manager Vicente Del Bosque was delighted with his side's performance he was taking nothing for granted where Sunday's final is concerned. Del Bosque said: "You must celebrate victory but with moderation and don't forget your responsibilities. We are sportsmen and we want to reach out for the World Cup.
"Our players know what football is. The defeat against Switzerland (in the group phase) was tough on us. We didn't deserve it. We have been growing and this brought us to the final. There is hardly anything more precious than to win the World Cup. We should not be bragging and too conceited, let's just play the next match. Holland play exciting football and have tried to become world champions for a number of years. There are two great teams."
Del Bosque also described what it meant to Spain, who have failed so often at World Cups when they appeared to have a good chance of glory. He said: "This country has changed enormously. We have great things and one of them is sports. We are privileged to have so many good sportsmen. Football is the local motivation. Spain deserves to be triumphant and to make it to the top."
Low, meanwhile, turned his thoughts to a third place match against Uruguay on Saturday and said he would not discuss his future. "I have got to try to wake up the team tomorrow," said Low. "We have another game to play. We will approach the match (for third place) seriously. We will come to terms with the disappointment and look forward. We have to look ahead and work hard and on Saturday provide a grand finale, if even a small finale."
On his own future he added: "I won't touch on this issue until after the tournament. Whoever the coach will be this team is here to stay over the next couple of years. The development has just started."