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Beckenbauer says England team lack spirit

LONDON, Oct 30 (Reuters) German World Cup winner Franz Beckenbauer has added his voice to the criticism of England's struggling team, saying they were like a school side.

Beckenbauer, who won the World Cup as a player in 1974 and again as coach of the national side in 1990, said he was shocked at the lack of spirit shown by England's players in a friendly in August.

''It was like a school team, they were not talking and not supporting,'' the 62-year-old told the BBC today, referring to Germany's 2-1 victory at Wembley.

''That was for me the biggest surprise. There is no life in this team.'' England are in danger of failing to qualify for next year's European championship in Switzerland and Austria after a 2-1 defeat in Russia earlier this month.

''The first time I played against England in 1965, then the World Cup in 1966, there was always a certain spirit,'' he said.

''A European championship without England wouldn't be the same. That would be a big loss.'' Former England manager Graham Taylor agreed with Beckenbauer, saying the current players were too quiet on the pitch.

''There's not a Tony Adams, a Stuart Pearce or a Paul Gascoigne in there,'' Taylor told BBC radio. ''They didn't just play with their feet, they also played with their mouths.'' England must beat Group E leaders Croatia in their final game next month and hope that Russia drop points in their final matches against Israel and Andorra.

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Story first published: Tuesday, October 30, 2007, 21:03 [IST]
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