England's manager Fabio Capello blasted back at Franz Beckenbauer's criticism of England's style on Thursday, accusing the former West Germany star of being disrespectful.
Beckenbauer, a World Cup winner with West Germany as captain in 1974 and coach in 1990, said in a column for DPA that England had returned to "the bad old times" with a mode of play based around "kick and rush" after watching their 1-1 draw with the United States last Saturday.
His comments have clearly rankled, with striker Wayne Rooney telling a German journalist that he would love a second-round meeting with Germany.
When asked why, he paused, and said with a menacing hiss, "because it would be nice to beat them."
Capello was no less angry. "I was surprised to hear (the comments)," he said. "Always, when you speak about someone, you have to respect their team. I respect his team and he needs to speak about them."
He suggested Beckenbauer, watching from afar, was in no position to make judgements.
"It's easy to speak about teams when you stay in the stands," he said. "You have to see the match (first hand).
"My players could not play the style they like (against the US) because the pressure was really strong. We had to play long balls to go forward to win."
Germany opened with an impressive 4-0 win over Australia, but Capello insisted a comparison could not meaningfully be made between the two sides.
"In the second half, we played very well," he went on. "We didn't play long ball but a lot of passes and had a lot of possession. We created three clear chances to score. So I don't understand what Beckenbauer is saying."
"It was easier for Germany to play Australia, who played offside with the line of their back four, and it was too easy for them to get to goal. There was probably a penalty for Australia which would have made it 2-1 and they had a player sent off. So it could have been different."
Rooney maintained the defence of England's form, suggesting Beckenbauer's words may have succeeded in galvanising Capello's squad.
"Beckenbauer can say what he wants and think what he wants - we're not listening. But we certainly don't play kick and run," Rooney said.
"And, with any tournament, it is how you finish, not how you start, that counts. If you look at the Italians, four years ago they won the tournament and, in the group stage, they had been on the brink of going out."