Germany coach Joachim Löw said that Spain are the best team in the world, and more or less crowned them world champions after they beat the Germans 1-0 in the World Cup semi-final last night.

Carls Puyol’s thumping header from a corner in the 73rd minute was the only goal to separate the sides, but in truth there was a gulf in class between them, with Spain keeping possession for long periods and creating easily the best opportunities. Germany meanwhile, apart from short periods in the first half, looked like a team lacking ideas and composure.

‘Spain are the best team in the world,’ said Löw. ‘They have won all their important games in the last two or three years and have been pretty much unchanged in that time. They play in an automatic way, with everyone knowing what is expected of him. I'm pretty confident they'll go on and win this title because, when they want to be, they are in complete control. They dominate opponents and games, and have shown they can beat anyone and everyone.

‘I looked at the players' faces in the dressing room after the game and there was such disappointment, but we weren't good enough tonight. Spain are a wonderful team, so what more can I say? They deserved to win this match, absolutely. They moved the ball quickly and we weren't able to combat them. They have been the most skilful team over the last few years and they were better than us.’

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