Germany v Spain: Germany respond to Joachim Löw's stylish vision

The Germany coach waxed lyrical about his side’s semi-final opponents, telling of his admiration of the European champions, who make everything seem so “light and effortless” and who appear to have “not only one Messi but a lot of Messis, players able to decide any game.”

Yet Löw’s cooing over the opposition, just as he had praised England and Argentina’s strengths, could not conceal an absolute confidence.

“I definitely rule out anything like the concept of 'revenge’; that’s not the kind of feeling I harbour in the least,” said Löw, talking of Germany’s defeat in the Euro 2008 final. “Spain in 2008 were the best team. But now I feel it’s slightly different. We, too, have proven our worth. I think we’ve improved and have every reason to believe we can win the semi-final.

“But Spain remain the trophy favourites par excellence. They have dominated their qualifying matches, shown great consistency and, unlike Argentina or England, commit very, very few mistakes. We have to force them into mistakes.”

Yet to his delight, the cosmopolitan Löw is now finding the world purring about his own side’s enterprising, attractive flourish as much as Spain’s.

He did not want to be drawn into the suggestions that this was the most exciting German team ever, topping Günter Netzer’s 1972 European champions, but revealed that he had taken traditional German values of work-rate and spirit and tried to add English pace, Spanish fluidity and old-fashioned Italian defending to create the distinctive style.

“The teams in the final four have solid defence, but you need more than that now, a more versatile style of play,” he said.

You also need a lucky sweater, apparently. Löw caused chuckles when he revealed that, although he is not superstitious, his players and back-up staff are urging him to keep wearing the blue V-neck number because every time he does, they score four. “They won’t even let me wash it now!” smiled the World Cup’s most dedicated follower of fashion.

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