Interview by Mihir Bose
BBC sports editor
German legend Franz Beckenbauer thinks the reason England are in danger of missing out on qualifying for Euro 2008 is that they lack spirit.
Beckenbauer won the World Cup as both a player and a coach
Beckenbauer said he was shocked at what he witnessed when England met Germany in a friendly at Wembley in August.
"It was like a school team, they were not talking and not supporting," said the 62-year-old Beckenbauer of Steve McClaren's side, who were beaten 2-1.
"That was for me the biggest surprise. There is no life in this team."
Beckenbauer said the England teams he faced as a player were a lot different.
The players are terrific - they're a great group
England assistant coach Terry Venables
"The first time I played against England in 1965, then the World Cup in 1966, there was always a certain spirit," he added.
He said players like Alan Ball were always motivating those around them by shouting and yelling but that the current England team was very quiet.
But Beckenbauer's comments were dismissed by former England manager Terry Venables, who is now assistant to McClaren.
"Perhaps he's watching the wrong games," Venables told BBC Sport. "Perhaps he's watching something that I haven't seen.
"The players are terrific - they're a great group. And whatever injuries we've had, we've looked it in the face, and everyone who's come in has done great.
"And then those guys that have done great have got injured and we've managed again.
"And that doesn't always happen. Everyone's just waiting for an opportunity, as opposed to being frightened of playing for their country."
However Graham Taylor, who coached the national team from 1990 to 1993, agreed with Beckenbauer that England currently lacked a vocal presence on the pitch.
"There isn't a Tony Adams, there isn't a Stuart Pearce, there isn't a Paul Gascoigne, who as well as playing with their feet played with their mouths as well," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.
"That is one of the things that I think the present England team are short of. I don't think they are loud enough verbally.
"Alan Ball never shut up. Gascoigne was the same. We don't have sufficient of those players in the England set-up who are verbal enough when they are playing."
However, Bryan Robson insisted there are players in the current England side who show plenty of spirit.
I think there is still passion in the England team
"When I see someone like John Terry, they show plenty of spirit wearing an England shirt," said the former England captain, now manager of Sheffield United.
"Everybody can't be a real shouter or a moaner. People go about the game in different ways.
"When you look back to the 1966 side, you had Nobby Stiles and Alan Ball who were real motivators and communicators on the pitch and had a right go.
"But I think there is still passion in the England team."
England face an uphill battle to qualify for next year's finals in Austria and Switzerland.
They need Russia to drop points in one of their two remaining games against Israel and Andorra for England to still have a chance when they face Croatia at Wembley on 21 November.
"A European Championship without England wouldn't be the same," added Beckenbauer, who won World Cups as both a player and coach. "That would be a big loss."