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Beckenbauer fears technically gifted Spanish
June 28, 2008 19:40 IST
German football great Franz Beckenbauer said on Saturday that a technically-gifted Spain would beat his compatriots in the Euro 2008 [Images] final if they played like they did against Russia [Images].
Spain reached Sunday's final in Vienna after overcoming Russia 3-0 in Thursday's semi-final thanks to a strong second-half display.
"In the second half the Spanish performance was the best I have seen in the last decade. The Spanish team with this performance would beat any team in the world," Beckenbauer, 62, told a news conference.
"Definitely the Spanish players are more flexible technique-wise, maybe better than the German team. I don't know if Germany [Images] are physically stronger than Spain."
The Germans lost to Croatia in the group stage before edging Portugal 3-2 in a thrilling last eight clash. They were fortunate to beat Turkey 3-2 with a last-minute goal in Wednesday's semi-final.
Beckenbauer, who coached Germany to World Cup glory in 1990, said midfielder Michael Ballack [Images] could help the side recover from their patchy form.
"Germany's performance has not been steady like the Spanish team. They have played up and down so tomorrow we expect the performance to be up again.
"If Germany play as they did against Portugal, they have a good chance of winning the European Championship," he said.
"Ballack can be key in tomorrow's game because he is the leader, he is the one who dictates the game. Maybe he can be the difference against the Spanish team."
Beckenbauer, who won the European Championship as a player in 1972 before triumphing in the 1974 World Cup, also praised the tournament in general.
"I think everyone involved in the tournament can be very happy. The host countries Austria and Switzerland [Images] did a great job. The friendship and hospitality couldn't be better," he said at an adidas event.
"The final is two classic football countries in Germany and Spain. It really is a big success. I hope it will be an exciting final, an attractive and high-scoring final. Maybe a draw, extra time then penalties with Germany having the better nerves."
Complete Coverage: Euro 2008