England striker Wayne Rooney believes the players have to become more cynical to compete at the top level.
The 28-year-old reckons the squad have suffered somewhat in the World Cup from refusing to indulge in gamesmanship.
England will be travelling home from Brazil on Wednesday after defeats to Italy and Uruguay in their opening two Group D matches.
Tuesday’s clash with Costa Rica, who have already qualified for the last 16, is a dead rubber with the England players left to reflect on what may have been.
"You look at teams who have won the tournament over previous years and you can see that nastiness in them," said the Manchester United forward.
You look at teams who have won the tournament over previous years and you can see that nastiness in them. I think we have to get that in us. As a team maybe we are too honest, I feel.
"I think we have to get that in us. As a team maybe we are too honest, I feel."
And Rooney concedes England have to start controlling the tempo of games to stamp some authority against opposing teams.
"You see a lot of the great teams, international and club teams, they have that," Rooney said. "The time to slow the game down a bit or control the game a bit more.
"But this is football. You have to take your chances. If we'd taken as least one of them, we'd have gone on and won the games. That's what disappointing.
"It's small margins, but those small things can amount to a big thing in terms of staying in the competition or going out.
"We want to make history and make this country winners again. That is what we worked hard to do, but it didn't happen. You never know - in the next few years it could do.
“We have to try to move on. It's difficult for us but more for the fans. It's been 48 years. It's tough because we've let them down. We want to give them something to cheer about for the future."