Giovanni Trapattoni has hailed Spain's strength and believes the reigning European and world champions have the best players in the world.
The hosts Brazil kick off the World Cup on June 12, 2014, though, Spain are by no means a certainty to qualify for the tournament yet as they defend a meagre one-point lead over France in Group I of the qualification campaign.
However, the Republic of Ireland coach says the reigning champions remain the team to beat for next year's competition after goals from Roberto Soldado and Juan Mata gave Spain a 2-0 victory in their friendly encounter.
"The game against Spain was a great opportunity for our players. I played against the likes of Pele, [Johan] Cruyff and Eusebio back in the days when they were the best players in the world," he told AS.
"My players got the chance to measure themselves against Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets, who are the top these days."
Ireland recently held England to a 1-1 draw, but had little chance against Spain and Trapattoni believes the gulf in class between their recent opponents is glaring.
He added: "Spain are superior to England on a technical level and are much more creative."