JOHANNESBURG, July 4 – Spain playmaker Andres Iniesta said he was looking forward to the World Cup semi-final against Germany after being named man-of-the-match in Saturday's 1-0 quarter-final victory over Paraguay.David Villa scored the only goal of the game to move clear at the top of the World Cup goalscoring charts with his fifth strike in South Africa.
But it was his new Barcelona team-mate Iniesta who got the fans’ vote for the best performance in the Ellis Park stadium as it was his run through the core of the South Americans’ defence that created the winner.
And now he can’t wait to renew rivalries with Germany, whom Spain beat 1-0 in the Euro 2008 final 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," he 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.
"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 the South Americans for Spain’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 added.
"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 teammates I wouldn’t be able to do anything.
"If Villa was here he would say that without his temmates 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."