Bierhoff in England blast
Oliver Bierhoff has told England they must rediscover their team spirit if they are to be successful.
Last Updated: 31/03/11 11:01pm
Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff has told England they must rediscover their team spirit if they are to be successful.
There is a renewed sense of optimism among many England supporters following some encouraging recent performances, with a number of young players starting to break though into the senior ranks.
However, Bierhoff does not believe the Three Lions can start to think about emulating the German side that thrilled the world last summer just yet.
Joachim Low's unheralded team thrashed England 4-1 in the last 16 of the World Cup en route to the semi-finals, and Bierhoff has highlighted the weaknesses he saw in Fabio Capello's side.
He has questioned whether the Italian was getting through to the players, claiming that it helps a national team if the manager is from the same country.
Bierhoff, who oversees the development of the national game in Germany and worked alongside Low in South Africa, said at the Soccerex conference in Manchester: "I think the most important thing [last year] if you are looking on the pitch - and our players mentioned this - there was not really big communication and atmosphere and team spirit in this English team.
"Capello is a famous coach and he has experience, but I don't know if he gets through to his players. You could see in the World Cup there were certain groups - also France - that were divided."
Despite Germany's emphatic victory, there was a moment of huge controversy with the game still in the balance when the referee did not see that Frank Lampard's shot had clearly crossed the line.
Germany finished third in the tournament after being beaten in the semi-finals by Spain, and Bierhoff said: "We had a very strong team spirit and a lot of discipline to do what the coaches asked of us - and also a good goal-line!
"England had quality players but you could see they weren't communicating any more, they didn't find the power in themselves and this was the biggest difference."
Bierhoff played against England in the Euro 96 semi-final at Wembley and said their team spirit in 2010 was completely different.
"In this tournament it seemed the worst. In 1996 they were very motivated and staying together," he added, before insisting it is better to have a national team coach from the same country.
"For sure it helps, because then he is thinking more about what is going on in the country and is not seeing himself like a project manager who is coming for five days to coach the team but is thinking more about what is going on in the federation."
Bierhoff can see England narrowing the gap with the Germans, who are reaping the dividends of a revolutionary youth programme begun after their dismal Euro 2000 campaign.
He said: "The players are becoming closer in style because you now have a lot of foreign players in every club and foreign coaches, it's not as it was before.
"I can see the difference in our players from 2006 to 2010, the young players coming now are better technically educated, more used to the media, physically much better.
"In 2006 we still had problems with a lack of speed and technical issues. With these young players you can see they have had a good education in the clubs' technical centres, I don't know how it is in England."