Russia coach Guus Hiddink has claimed England have underachieved in recent years.
Dutchman Hiddink was a candidate to replace Sven-Goran Eriksson as England head coach after last year's World Cup but chose next Wednesday's opponents instead.
He said in the Daily Mirror: 'I have always been an admirer of the England team - but they have underachieved in the last two World Cups and were not the England I have come to expect.
'England's passion and desire, their willingness to attack, that's what's been missing in recent years.
'They have played with anxiety and looked scared to express themselves.
'That is not the England the world has always looked to for leadership in football.'
Russia are the second opponents in a vital double header for Steve McClaren's men over the next eight days.
Hiddink is predicting England's more recent attacking approach will not prevent Group E going down to the wire.
He said: 'They have shown more adventure in recent games but this is a very demanding group. It will go down to the last round.'