The 2014 FIFA World Cup is a little more than a year away, and while Spain has won the past three major tournaments (UEFA Euros 2008, 2012 and World Cup 2010), the team is no longer as strong as it once was.
The country destined to surpass Spain in 2014 is Germany, currently the No. 2 team in the world.
There are several reasons why Germany is the team of the future. Here are five of them.
Germany's combination of young and veteran players will help lead them to their first World Cup in 24 years.
Over the past few years, Joachim Löw's squad has seen changes. Players move in and out of the lineup as Löw figures out who is worthy of his team. For the most part, the core of the German National Team has remained the same.
Löw consistently calls up veteran players such as Miroslav Klose and Philipp Lahm, but young German stars are getting their chances as well. Over the past year, fans were introduced to Marco Reus and Mario Götze.
Löw has shown that he is not one for calling up players simply because of their reputation. It seems that if you can play and prove yourself domestically, Löw will give you a shot internationally.
Even with players constantly in motion, Germany is still winning. Löw has seemingly found a formula that works for his team, no matter who is playing.
Losing matches has not been part of the Germans' game plan.
It is obvious that winning matches is a good thing. So why shouldn't one think that a team constantly in winning form will win the 2014 World Cup?
In World Cup qualifiers, Germany has been undefeated, having won four of their five matches and playing to a draw against Sweden.
In fact, the Swedish match is the only time the Germans looked vulnerable. After being up 4-0 and looking well in control of the match, Löw's squad conceded four goals to the Swedes. If teams want to know how to break down Germany, they need only look at this match.
But the bottom line is, the Germans still did not lose that match. In fact, the last time Die Mannschaft lost was against Argentina in a friendly in August 2012. The reason they lost? Ron-Robert Zieler, the backup goalie to Manuel Neuer, received a red card in the 30th minute and Löw had no choice but to sacrifice one of his stars, Thomas Müller, to make way for third-string goalie Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Add in that Sami Khedira scored an own goal, and it is clear that the only way to beat the Germans is to have them beat themselves.
Expect nothing but wins for the Germans throughout the rest of World Cup qualifying as they will not see too much competition in their qualifying group. However, look forward to October when the team will face the Republic of Ireland and Sweden once again. This could be the last time there will be any hiccups from this German squad until the actual World Cup tournament.
Players like Marco Reus and Mario Gotze will be the determining factor of Germany's success in 2014.
The combination of veterans and young stars is part of the dynamic that makes the German team work. But, ultimately, for this squad to succeed, the youth of Die Mannschaft must prevail.
The German team is loaded with names that the average soccer fan may not know. Marco Reus, Mario Götze and Julian Draxler are not household names, but they will be after 2014.
People have started to take notice of Reus after his stellar showing in the UEFA Champions League and expect his star to only grow. The same goes for Götze. Together, these two make up one of the best duos in German football today, if not the best.
Although Reus and Götze have only played together for a year, they have been near unstoppable while on the field together for Borussia Dortmund. Expect these two to perform just as well for Germany in 2014.
Julian Draxler may not get his chance to make a solid difference for Löw's squad this World Cup, but he will be a force to be reckoned with in the years to come. The same can be said for numerous other young players on the German team.
Most of these players do not have a lot of exposure on the mainstream soccer stage. This can prove to be problematic for Germany's opponents. Löw may switch up his lineup at any time just to add a bit of mystery to his squad. Knowing that his young stars are able to perform will make this a relatively simple decision for him.
Don't be surprised if Germany's first game t the 2014 World Cup includes names like Ilkay Gündoğan, Marcel Schmelzer, Benedikt Höwedes and Lars and Sven Bender.
Germany's youth may be Löw's secret weapon come 2014.
A strong showing by German clubs in the Champions League previews success at the World Cup.
Spain has all three of its Champions League teams left in this year's competition. Up until the quarterfinals, Germany did as well.
This surprised quite a few people who do not follow the Bundesliga. And who does follow the Bundesliga? In the United States, fans must go out of their way to find a game featuring a German team. It's no wonder it shocked people when Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich and Schalke 04 all went through to the round of 16.
People started taking notice of the Germans at this point. How were they able to beat all these powerful teams we had all grown accustomed to? Yes, we knew that Bayern Munich was a strong team. They almost won Champions League in 2012 but just barely lost to Chelsea. They were expected to be there, but Dortmund and Schalke?
German soccer is on the rise. Pep Guardiola knows this. He signed on to be Munich's next head coach, which turned the world's attention to the Bundesliga. Obviously, Guardiola knows something about German soccer that the rest of the world is now catching onto.
The Champions League shows that the Germans can compete with the rest of the world. The German national team is made up of players from mostly Munich, Dortmund and Schalke. These players have proven this season that they can compete with the best of Europe. This will translate to the World Cup.
The World Cup title is within reach for the Germans.
Since the 2006 World Cup, the Germans have been threatening to take a major title. Die Mannschaft has been one of the best teams, but not many people have taken notice. This can be blamed on the success of the Spanish team.
Spain's first major title came at the 2008 UEFA European Championships. Who did Spain beat? The Germans by one goal. This was the turning point for Spain. They have won two European Championships and a World Cup. This could have been Germany's fate, but Spain has been near unstoppable over the past few years.
It is only recently that Spain has shown a little break in form. The draw to Finland last Friday showed that the Spaniards are not invincible. They can be beaten, or perhaps coaches have just cracked the Spanish code. But they are not nearly as strong as they once were. Germany is the No. 2 team in the world, according to the FIFA rankings. If there is any team that is destined to surpass Spain, it's Germany.
Löw's squad has been knocking on the door for the past six years. They have finished third or second in every major tournament since Spain has won. Yes, the Germans lost to Mario Balotelli and the Italians at Euro 2012, but Germany was inexperienced then. They are better now.
The Italians will not be able to get pass the Germans now. It is the Spaniards they are worried about. Should Spain slip, and it looks like this is all but assured, Germany will win the 2014 FIFA World Cup.