Andres Iniesta insists Spain's UEFA EURO 2008 final victory over Germany will give them no psychological advantage when the sides meet in the last four of the FIFA World Cup™.
Iniesta was voted the man of the match as Spain overcame Paraguay 1-0 in the Ellis Park Stadium thanks to a late goal from David Villa. Now they will face the on-song Germans who followed up their 4-1 win over England by thrashing Argentina 4-0 in the quarter-finals.
Barcelona star Iniesta said: "It's the same as the Euro final. We will be playing Germany again. But I think it has nothing to do with what happened two years ago. That will have no part to play when we meet. Germany have played a brilliant World Cup so far and they have brought in a lot of young players who were not there in 2008.
"They must be tremendously motivated but we are also at the top of our game and keen to progress further. I am sure it will be a match between two sides who enjoy having the ball and it's going to be a great battle. We have been following Germany's progress throughout the World Cup and they have done spectacularly well."
Iniesta is proud to be part of the first Spain side to reach the semi-finals of football's biggest tournament, their previous last-four appearance having come in 1950 when it was a group phase. But he was full of praise for Paraguay who held out until seven minutes from time in a match where both sides had a penalty saved.
He said: "We knew it was going to be difficult as throughout the World Cup Paraguay had made life difficult for all their rivals. They gave it everything but we are very proud, very happy to be among the four best teams in the world. The team is doing very well. It's a fantastic feeling but the job is not finished yet. We are all pleased to have got so far but we will now start focusing on the match with Germany."
Iniesta is adamant that a collective spirit is a major reason for Spain's success. He said: "I was voted man of match, which makes me very happy, but without my team-mates I would not get these awards. It the same with David Villa. He has scored five goals so far but he would say without his team-mates he wouldn't score goals. The strength of the team is us playing together and fighting together."