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Tuesday, 25 June, 2002, 05:48 GMT 06:48 UK

England lack steel, says Beckenbauer

German legend Franz Beckenbauer believes a lack of self-belief cost England a place in the World Cup semi-finals.

'The Kaiser' has praised his national team for battling back from the 5-1 loss to Sven-Goran Eriksson's side in the qualifying stages.

" They ignored their footballing culture. It is terrible to see England play football like that "
Guus Hiddink

But while he feels Germany have the resolve to get it right on the night, Beckenbauer fears England have become too used to falling just short at the highest level.

"If England had the mental strength of Germany they would be in the semi-finals and be favourites to win the tournament," he said.

"Some teams take failure and use it as a reason to come back stronger.

"They build up again and use the memory to their advantage. That is what Germany appear to have done.

"Other teams use failure as an excuse for more failure and it becomes a mental block," quotes the Daily Mirror.

South Korea coach Guus Hiddink has been even more damning in his criticism of England's performance against Brazil in the quarter-finals.

"All the European teams who have gone out played too defensive - like they were scared. I thought England were the worst," quotes The Sun.

"It is impossible for them to have left the tournament with their heads held high.

"Their frontman Emile Heskey was the best English defender. He was always standing 18 metres from his own goalkeeper.

"I said: 'Is this the same England that used to attack so much?'

"Even when they were 2-1 behind against Brazil they did not do it. It would not be my way to be kicked out the tournament like that.

"They have ignored their footballing culture. It is terrible to see England play football like that."

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