Germany legend Franz Beckenbauer has wasted little time in beginning the war of words with a "stupid" England ahead of their World Cup last 16 clash.
Beckenbauer, who was rebuked last week after claiming England had 'returned to the bad old days of kick and rush' under head coach Fabio Capello, has again made headlines with his outspoken comments.
He has labelled England "stupid" for failing to win Group C and therefore setting up a last 16 clash with their old foes in Bloemfontein on Sunday.
The Three Lions booked their place in the knockout round with a 1-0 victory over Slovenia on Wednesday, but the narrow margin of victory allowed the United States to nip in and win the group.
"A game like this should be a semi-final, not a last 16 game," he told Bild
"Stupidly, the English have slipped up a little by finishing second in their group."
Meanwhile, Beckenbauer, who won the World Cup as a player and manager with West Germany, has questioned the fitness of the England players following a long Premier League season.
He continued:"The English look a little tired. There is a good reason for that: the Premier League players have got to play far more games than their Bundesliga colleagues, including two national cup competitions.
"Therefore, when it comes to a World Cup or a European Championships, they are burnt out.
"Our players, on the other hand, seem to be in a physically better condition.
"Of course we respect them, but we certainly don't fear them.
"England's first two appearances at the World Cup were paltry, but they improved against Slovenia."