England's struggles in World Cup football are made worse by unsupportive media and harsh criticism from followers, US coach Jurgen Klinsmann said today as his team prepared to play Brazil.
The former German star player and coach was speaking in general about the tough times some coaches from football-mad nations face in mustering support for their sides, especially in tough times.
England, which has not won the World Cup since 1966, became his example of what can go wrong, citing the 2010 South Africa World Cup in which Germany ousted England in the round of 16.
"England often beat themselves," Klinsmann said. "It's not the opponents necessarily. They make so many problems for themselves."
Klinsmann said reporters bear some responsibility for weakening the resolve of their nation's players.
"You can say, 'I support my team,' from a media perspective, or 'I give them trouble and I give them doubts,"' Klinsmann said.
Klinsmann noted that when he paid a visit to Brazil last December and spoke with the nation's coaches, he stressed that the Brazilian people must support coach Mano Menezes even when the team produces less-than-desired results.
"You chose a very good coach," Klinsmann said. "You have to support him, even if his path doesn't work out perfectly. You have to support him, even if something goes wrong."
Klinsmann held up Germany's 2006 World Cup run to the semi-finals on home soil as an example of support from the people inspiring a squad.
"People started to be really positive. They wanted to show a new Germany to the rest of the world," he said. "The people did it. It's more than just the game. It's more than just winning the World Cup."