'Move over Brazil, here come Spain'

'Move over Brazil, here come Spain'

Their 1-0 victory over Germany had Spanish newspapers praising Vicente del Bosque's side and talking up their prospects for Sunday's showdown against Netherlands.

"The best in the world (and on Sunday the champions of the world)" sports daily Marca blared from their wraparound front page over a photo of the players celebrating Carles Puyol's winning headed goal in Wednesday's match in Durban.

El Pais wrote: "If football is art and heroism, Spain is the team to follow. In their game against a fearsome and dazzling Germany they had everything, they were sublime in their play and knew to roll up their sleeves when required."

It was the manner of the victory, Spain's best performance in the tournament so far, that was most commented on.  "Spain didn't just win, they put on an exhibition, they played with evening suits on," wrote daily El Mundo.

"Once upon a time it was the Brazil team of 1970. Soon it will be Spain 2010 who will be talked about as the ultimate in a sport converted into one of the beautiful arts by the likes of Xavi, (Andres) Iniesta, (Xabi) Alonso and the other magicians."

Spain's asphyxiating grip on the game may have been down to their ball-playing 'artists' in midfield but it was the shaggy-haired, old warhorse Puyol who was the centre of attention in the papers and on the television news.