Is Beckenbauer right about England?
World Cup 2010: Rustenburg
John Terry tore around in England's training session like a man who had just finished reading Franz Beckenbauer's brutal analysis of Fabio Capello's side.
England's players were in combative mood in the brief time the media were allowed to watch them in action, with former captain Terry throwing in several robust tackles and, in a separate incident, Jermain Defoe ending up on the floor following another challenge.
If England's squad had a little bit of extra bite in their work on Rustenburg's coldest day since their arrival in South Africa, it may just have been the result of a highly uncomplimentary assessment of their style by German legend Beckenbauer following Saturday's 1-1 draw with the United States.
Beckenbauer, a World Cup winner as player and manager, was distinctly unflattering about England in a column in South Africa newspaper The Times: "It looked to me as if the English have gone backwards into the bad old days of kick and rush. What I saw... had very little to do with football."
But is 'Der Kaiser' right?
Beckenbauer (right) has also said he thinks England can win the World Cup if Wayne Rooney shines
On the basis of England's performance in Rustenburg, especially the last 30 minutes, then his "kick and rush" claims are based on fact. England hit far too many long balls in the direction of first Emile Heskey and then Peter Crouch as they ran out of ideas.
But to suggest England have "gone backwards" under Capello on the evidence of a single game is nonsense and something the Italian may just have an added desire to address should his team meet Germany in the last 16 of this World Cup.
Everyone connected with Germany was clearly delighted, and rightly so, with the convincing manner of the win against Australia. Joachim Loew's emerging team played at a high tempo and showed an impressive command of the new Jabulani World Cup ball - hardly surprising as they have been using it since February.
It is a win, however, that should be placed in the context of a desperately poor Australian team, whose most influential player, Tim Cahill, was contentiously sent off in a game that was played at sea level in Durban.
Germany, with hopes typically played down in the build-up to the tournament, looked full of purpose. That said, much tougher tests lie ahead.
In contrast, England's performance at altitude was poor and deserved the criticism it received. But to write them off after one match would be as ill-judged as to declare Germany champions-elect after their thrashing of the Socceroos.
Beckenbauer appeared to question whether Capello could have any serious impact on England's prospects in this World Cup, adding: "The English are being punished for the fact that there are very few English players in the Premier League clubs as they use better foreign players from all over the world."
Capello has indeed bemoaned the lack of English talent in the Premier League but Beckenbauer does appear to have rushed to judgement after one game, however undistinguished that game was.
Since his arrival, Capello has gone out of his way to stress in public - and in private to his players - that he wants England's team to adopt a passing style. It was, in fact, one of his first telling observations about the players he inherited.
Capello will have noted the basic approach in the last quarter of England's performance against the US and will no doubt attempt to remedy it, forcibly.
He also constantly preaches the mantra of the pressing game - and his displeasure at what Beckenbauer describes as "kick and rush" was clear for all to see when England played their warm-up game against Platinum Stars shortly after their arrival here.
If England were guilty of using the long ball as a blunt instrument against the United States, then it is highly unlikely to have been at Capello's instigation.
Where Capello does not help himself is that he is locked into using either Heskey or Crouch as a partner to Wayne Rooney. Sometimes the temptation is too much to resist when such obvious targets are presented.
The argument that Steven Gerrard should be Rooney's close companion on the field if England are to master the style demanded by their coach is an old one. One of Capello's other more strident public statements, however, was that he would always use two strikers, usually one big and one not so big.
Surely the pairing of Gerrard and Rooney would be more conducive to a more fluid, passing style? Capello clearly thinks not.
The coach has utilised width and has also settled on two attack-minded full-backs in Glen Johnson and Ashley Cole, indicators of his dislike of the long-ball game.
If Beckenbauer has based his remarks on watching England throughout Capello's reign, his criticism is wrong. If they are based on the evidence presented in Rustenburg on Saturday, then he is offering up a very short-term and premature view.
And yet, unwittingly, Beckenbauer may just have done England a favour.
Can Capello get England playing the way he wants them?
He has drawn to very public attention a flaw that did mar their game on Saturday. And he has prepared Capello's pre-match speech for him should England play Germany here.
Reaching for the press cutttings is often the last refuge of the desperate manager, but it is a safe bet Beckenbauer's words will be used as a motivational tool should England and Germany cross paths.
The feeling around the England camp on Tuesday was that Beckenbauer may have been indulging in some good old-fashioned mind games to disguise his healthy respect for the old enemy and their hugely experienced coach.
After all, it was not so long ago he was lavishing praise on Rooney and admitting he could even be the architect of an England World Cup win, labelling them one of the tournament favourites.
But when Beckenbauer suggests England have hit some sort of reverse gear under Capello, he might care to reflect on the parlous position they were in when the Italian took over - not even good enough to qualify for Euro 2008 from a generous group.
England have advanced under Capello - the way they secured their place in this World Cup proved that - and they may yet get the chance to deliver a more emphatic answer to Beckenbauer's brickbats.