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Feb 6, 2013

Beckenbauer: We can win 2014 World Cup

Franz Beckenbauer has said he believes Germany "has never had so many great talents as it does now" and that World Cup-winners Spain have had their day in the sun.

Beckenbauer, 67, is convinced coach Joachim Low's current crop of players are the best three-time World Cup winners Germany have yet produced.

"I remain convinced that, with Joachim Low, this team can win the 2014 World Cup," he told L'Equipe. "If you take the qualities of the players one by one, they're really good.

"The Nationalmannschaft plays in a different way to how it did before. If German football has always been respected, it's rarely been liked. Today, we hear more compliments. They're fully justified, and we're proud.

"With Mario Gotze and Marco Reus, Germany have two diamonds with exceptional qualities. For me, they're the most spectacular duo in the world. Germany has never had so many great talents as it does now."

Germany reached the final of Euro 2008 and the last four of the 2010 World Cup, and many believed they would be crowned champions at Euro 2012, where they lost in the semi-finals to eventual runners-up Italy.

"Expectation was so high during the last Euros that the overriding sentiment is one of frustration," Beckenbauer said.

"We didn't understand the defeat to Italy in the semi-finals. Criticism rained down on Joachim Low, and the general atmosphere became tense. The year ended with the 4-4 against Sweden, even though we were leading 4-0. Since the Euros, confidence has disappeared."

It is far from certain Wednesday's friendly against France in Paris will provide comfort, and Beckenbauer sees Les Bleus as formidable opponents who could overhaul group rivals Spain en route to Brazil 2014.

"I see France finishing top of the group," he added. "Spain have reached their peak, and are not going to stay there forever.

"They're going to have disappointments. France were very good in the game in Madrid [a 1-1 draw]. In Brazil, they'll have the means to have a good run."

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