HERZOGENAURACH - Germany are on course to replace Spain at the top of world football and are the only real threat to their dominance, Spain captain Iker Casillas said on Wednesday.
"The only team I am scared of and I've got respect for is Germany," Real Madrid goalkeeper Casillas told Reuters Television during an awards ceremony in Germany.
Spain are the European and World champions. They beat Germany in the Euro 2008 final and again in the 2010 World Cup semi-finals.
But Casillas said the young German squad, which won over many fans with exciting World Cup demolitions of England and Argentina, was on its way to the top.
"I like Germany a lot. At the last World Cup, Germany were my favourites," he said.
"They are European rivals, they are young, they have got great players. I think they are going to set the standard for football at international level in a couple of years, when Spain are probably not up there at the top," Casillas added.
Germany clinched third place in the World Cup in South Africa this year, fielding their youngest squad at a major tournament in 76 years with an average age of under 25.