By Oliver Trust
BERLIN, April 16 (Xinhua) -- 2014 World Champion Germany will have to face "fierce opposition" when trying to defend their title in Russia this year, World Cup winner Jurgen Klinsmann said in a recent interview.
The former German national team coach (2004 - 2006) is convinced Germany is not the big favorite for the World Cup this summer, but only one of the "four to six front-runners".
Next to Germany, Klinsmann counts Spain, France, Portugal and England among the European nations capable of winning football's biggest prize. The 53-year-old added that Brazil and Argentina in particular top his list of candidates.
Referring to Messi, Klinsmann says the tournament in Russia will be the last chance "for the footballer that influenced our epoch like no other" to come away with a World Cup winner's medal.
Klinsmann assumes Messi will be in top form and disappointments with his club FC Barcelona will be forgotten.
Speaking about possible World Cup surprises, Klinsmann mentioned England as a nation on its way back to becoming world-class, especially as they have introduced young, exciting talents into the team. "England has one of the most promising teams in world football," Klinsmann emphasized.
The country is benefiting from a new attitude and its new openness for young prospects the former Bayern Munich striker said.
"I saw the U-20 2017 World Cup in South Korea and England really deserved the title. Take a look at my former club Tottenham, there's Kane, Ali, Dier. I can't remember England having such a promising generation in football," Klinsmann commented.
Germany's problem when trying to defend their title is "that it is tough to develop the same hunger again," Klinsmann says. "It's not the coaches' job to make the team feel the hunger for a title, it is the team's job to develop that and to show it on the pitch," the former US national coach stressed.
Klinsmann spoke about his experience after winning the 1990 World Cup. "We couldn't develop that kind of hunger and ambition again. As the World Champion, you are a sort of the 'popular trophy' everyone wants to beat." Talking about the future of German national coach Joachim Loew, Klinsmann said the 56-year-old could be open for a club job shortly.
"If a club makes an offer at the right moment, I can imagine Joachim could be attracted. I once got enticed by Bayern Munich. In his case, should Real Madrid or Barcelona call, he will be presumably be tempted," continued Klinsmann.