Spain's critics have laid into Vicente Del Bosque's side in recent days, but Germany manager Joachim Low doesn't buy into their analysis.

The German boss hailed Spain as 'absolutely world class', despite a series of sluggish performances in the group stage. Spain came in for criticism after struggling to overcome Croatia, and Del Bosque was ridiculed in some quarters for failing to play a recognised striker against Italy.

But Low feels Spain are still the team to beat. Germany and Spain remain favourites, and both will be glad to still be in the competition after Holland crashed out at the group stage.

Germany and Spain can't meet until the Euro 2012 final, should both make it that far, but Low thinks Spain are favourites to defend their Euro 2008 crown.

"They have fantastic players, [Andres] Iniesta, for example, is a product of a great footballing culture," said the Germany coach. "Spain always were, and remain, the favourite to win the tournament. I have watched Spain twice and they are absolutely world class with the combinations they have."

Spain face France in the quarter final on Saturday, while Germany take on Greece tomorrow night, and both are expected to progress to the semi-finals.

But Low warned that either side could fall foul of defensive tactics and crash out early, while he believes Spain's slow start can be attributed to cautious opponents stifling their passing fluidity.

"They have just suffered the same fate as many other teams here, you have opponents sitting very deep and trying to disrupt your rhythm," said Low. "You can still rely on Spain to pull off some kind of goalscoring move."

Against Croatia, Low was proved right, as substitute Cesc Fabregas unlocked the stoic Croatian defence with a fantastic through ball to Iniesta, who promptly provided Jesus Navas with a tap-in.

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