Rio Ferdinand believes England will make Franz Beckenbauer eat his words when they face Germany in the last 16 of the World Cup on Sunday.
Beckenbauer, a World Cup winner as a player and a coach with West Germany, had labelled England as "stupid" for failing to secure top spot in Group C after poor performances in draws against the United States and Algeria, and accused them of playing "kick and rush" football.
And Ferdinand told The Sun: "I think those comments will come back to bite Beckenbauer. Perhaps he wasn't expecting Germany and England to meet this early in the competition."
The 64-year-old has since apologised for his comments but Ferdinand, who was due to captain England in South Africa before suffering a knee injury in training, believes Fabio Capello's side can make him regret his verbal attacks.
He added: "It has unsettled him and he has got a bit rattled, so he's looking for ways to get under our skin.
"But he hasn't. He has just made the lads more determined. The team that wins a World Cup doesn't necessarily start great. It's the way you finish that counts."
"I know some of the lads think it would have been better to play Ghana and it would have been an easier route for us.
"But I prefer Germany, because you know what you're getting with them. Ghana can be unpredictable. Germany are more straightforward.
"We start again at the knockout stage and facing Germany will spur us on. We are going to have to play well and have a bit of luck. Yet we see ourselves as a lot better team than one which goes out in the last 16."