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  Monday, 3 September, 2001, 05:04 GMT 06:04 UK
Beckenbauer hails 'best ever' England
Franz Beckenbauer
Beckenbauer: England have a real chance in 2002
Franz Beckenbauer believes that the England side that beat Germany 5-1 on Saturday is the best he has ever seen.

The Germany football legend was hugely impressed with the performance of Sven Goran Eriksson's side in Munich.

"I have never seen a better England team and I have never seen an England team playing better football," he said.

"They had pace, aggression, movement and skill. It was fantasy football with England on a high."


England could make a real impact in Japan and South Korea
Franz Beckenbauer
Beckenbauer predicted a German victory before the match but admitted afterwards that Eriksson's England are now favourites to qualify automatically for next year's World Cup Finals.

"When they scored their third goal they started to play football that would have beaten anyone in the world," Beckenbauer told The Sun.

"Michael Owen was simply unstoppable. Our defenders were slow and they just could not handle his pace, while his finishing was unbelievable.

"And with David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Steven Gerrard playing the way they did, we were swept aside.

"Now it looks as if England have the automatic qualification while we face the play-offs.

"Should that be the outcome, England could make a real impact in Japan and South Korea.

"It will not be easy - it will not be easy for any European side in the Far East.

"But if England produce the form they showed against us they have as good a chance as anyone."

World Cup qualifier: Germany v England

Germany 1-5 England

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