(CNN) -- Football legend Franz Beckenbauer has begun the mind games ahead of Germany's World Cup semifinal against Spain on Wednesday, describing his compatriots as "the perfect team" and calling them favorites to reach the final.
Beckenbauer, who led Germany to twin World Cup triumphs as both a player and coach, showered praise on the current crop after the 4-0 quarterfinal rout of Argentina.
"This team, it's the masterpiece of Joachim Low. He has placed his mark on its make-up and created a perfect team," the 64-year-old told the German Football Federation's official website.
"I have rarely seen such mastery of the game from a German team. Perhaps only in the 1970s and the World Cup-winning team of 1990."
Saturday's win over Argentina was the third time in South Africa that Germany had scored four goals or more in a match and followed hard on the heels of the 4-1 rout of arch-rivals England.
"In the past, we would say that you had to leave the beautiful game in the dressing room, but this team shows that it is not a contradiction and that you can play well and win."
Beckenbauer has no doubt who will win when Germany faces European champions Spain in the semifinals in Durban.
"Germany have an advantage over Spain, who haven't yet shown the form that they did when winning the Euro 2008 title," he said.
"They haven't yet looked very convincing and struggled to snatch victory in the quarterfinals against Paraguay."
It is not the first time at these World Cup finals that Beckenbauer has spoken his mind.
He was forced to apologize after claiming that England played "kick and rush" football and had "gone backwards" under coach Fabio Capello.
But on reflection, his pre-match comments may have been prophetic as England disappointed hugely against the talented young German team and were well beaten.