Philipp Lahm has claimed that England can follow Germany's example by using a World Cup breakthrough to usher in a new era of sustained success.
The 34-year-old retired last year after a career that saw him win eight Bundesliga titles and a Champions League with Bayern Munich and captain Germany to victory at the 2014 World Cup.
That win in Brazil followed back-to-back third-place finishes in 2006 and 2010, with Lahm also earning a runners-up medal at Euro 2008 and another bronze medal from Euro 2012.
Having reached the semi-finals in Russia this summer, England manager Gareth Southgate said he saw similarities between his side and the young German team that included Lahm in 2006 and he agrees with the comparison.
"Even before the World Cup, I was really interested in how [England] would do - I believed they had a good chance because they had a young and talented team," he told Sky Sports.
"My question was whether they could really sustain form over the course of a tournament and bring their individual abilities to the fore [when] you face really difficult opponents.
"What I saw on the pitch was a good, functioning team. Everyone was helping each other out and this is what you need to be able to compete at the highest level. A good team spirit is what you need to be successful.
"Just looking at our team from 2006 to 2014 period, it helped writing history together, going through so many semi-finals.
"It was something extremely educational, everybody knew how a team-mate would react in difficult times or under pressure. This knowledge helped us compete at the highest level.
"Nonetheless, you still need quality individual players in the national squad."