Hamburg, June 15 : England was not amused Tuesday by some harsh words on their World Cup team from Franz Beckenbauer. But some of its commentators had to concede that the German football icon was not entirely wrong.
"Beckenbauer's arrogant assessment cranks up the pressure ahead of a possible last-16 meeting with the Germans," moaned The Sun, as a column from Beckenbauer for DPA created a storm.
"Beckenbauer, a World Cup winner as a player and boss, is clearly no fan of the England team and hopes his savage attack will get under their skin in a pre-meditated mind games move," the tabloid said.
In the DPA World Cup column, Beckenbauer found no kind words for England after their opening 1-1 draw with the United States.
"What I saw of the English against the US had very little to do with football. It looked to me as if the English have gone backwards into the bad old days of kick and rush," said Der Kaiser Beckenbauer, who won the World Cup as a player and coach.
"I am not sure if coach Fabio Capello can still change much there. The English are being punished for the fact that there are very few English players in the Premier League as clubs use better foreign players from all over the world," Beckenbauer wrote.
British daily The Times said that Beckenbauer was not wrong with the latter assessment.
"The England manager will agree with Beckenbauer's comment about the lack of talent at his disposal, having bemoaned the fact that barely a third of the players who started games in the Premier League last season were English," said The Times.
"But he is certain to be irked by the disparaging remarks about his team's style of play," the highbrow paper said.
The Daily Mail echoed this: "Capello has also complained that he is forced to select from too small a pool, but the Italian will not appreciate criticism when he received praise for the way he revived his squad and secured qualification."
The Daily Telegraph pointed out that others in the football community rate England highly.
"Nevertheless, Beckenbauer's claims, which may also be regarded as part of the propaganda of the World Cup finals, run contrary to the general perception in world football of the job that Capello has done with England.
"Respected coaches such as Marcello Lippi, who leads world champions Italy into this tournament, have hailed his impact, rating England among the 'four or five' teams who can win the World Cup," said the Telegraph.
England have to prove their class on Friday against Algeria while Germany play Serbia the same day, coming off a sensational 4-0 drubbing of Australia in their opener which drew lots of praise - including from the British press.
England and Germany could meet in the round of 16. (DPA)
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