Andres Iniesta has revealed he is expecting "a great game" when Spain take on Germany for a place in the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ Final.
David Villa scored the only goal in La Roja's victory over Paraguay in today's quarter-final, but it was his new Barcelona team-mate, whose run through the core of the South Americans' defence created the winner, who claimed the Budweiser Man of the Match award. And now Iniesta can't wait to renew rivalries with Germany, who Spain beat 1-0 in the UEFA EURO 2008 decider in Vienna two years ago.
"We'll be playing Germany again but I don't think what happened two years ago will have any bearing on the game," Iniesta said of Wednesday's semi-final in Durban. "Germany have had a brilliant World Cup so far and regardless of their excellent results, they're also playing very well.
Germany have had a brilliant World Cup so far. But we too are at the top of our game. I think it will be a great match.
"It must be a tremendous motivation for them but we too are at the top of our game. We're keen to progress further, it will be a match between two teams that like to keep ball, and I think it will be a great match."
Spain were far from their best against a well-organised and disciplined Paraguay, who worked tirelessly to close down the spaces and prevent the European champions from finding their stride and executing their fluid passing game. Iniesta said credit should go to La Albirroja for his team's inability to perform to their potential.
"We had all sorts of problems in this match, we knew it would be very tough because Paraguay have been playing well throughout the entire World Cup," he explained. "They made life difficult for all their opponents and this match was decided with one quick move. We have to be delighted and proud and all other positive adjectives in the dictionary, to be amongst the four best teams in the world is something really great."
As for his own display, Iniesta gave credit to the team's collectivity. "The fact that I've been voted Man of the Match makes me very happy, but without my team-mates I wouldn't be able to do anything. If Villa was here he would say that without his team-mates he wouldn't score any goals.
"The strength of this team is that we fight for each other and that's what's helped us gain success. I feel very good, I'm playing 90 minutes in each match and the team is doing very well.
"We're in the semis now and we should all feel delighted. Now we start to focus on the match with Germany. We've been following them throughout the World Cup, they've had a spectacular tournament and they're going to be on top form."