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Beckham says he laid ghost of 1998 to rest

© Reuters 2002

SAPPORO, June 7 (Reuters) - England captain David Beckham said it was "just unbelievable" to beat Argentina 1-0 in the World Cup on Friday and he felt he had finally laid the ghost of his sending-off in 1998 to rest. Asked how it felt Beckham said: "Better than it did four years ago. it's just unbelievable. This just tops it all off.

"As a footballing nation I think we've been waiting for that victory for a long time and to do it in the World Cup in the group stages is something special. "A lot has happened in my career and a lot happened four years ago and it's just nice that finally I can hopefully lay it to rest."

Argentina beat England on penalties in the second round at the 1998 World Cup in France. Beckham was sent off in that match. The midfielder said it was terrifying when he stepped up to take the penalty which won the match in the 44th minute because of the Argentine "antics".

"We battled really hard for the whole 92 minutes, it was not just about my penalty," said Beckham. "We're buzzing but we also know that we're not through the group yet,we've got a big game on Wednesday but we're going to enjoy this moment because these moments dont come very often." England coach Sven-Goran Erikssson said he thought his team deserved the victory. Eriksson said: "I was pleased that we played football for more than 45 minutes.

"In the second half we created some good chances. The last 15 minutes was very difficult but the players worked extremely hard." England, with four points, play Nigeria, who are already eliminated, on Wednesday.

Reports provided by

Friday, 14 June
Japan inspire national celebrations
South Korea and U.S. through, Portugal out
Thursday, 13 June
Trapattoni relieved as Italy survive
Ecstatic Turkey qualify for first time
Wednesday, 12 June
Agony for South Africa after Spain defeat
Argentina feel they deserved more
Tuesday, 11 June
Steely rather than silky, Germany power on
France out as Danes and Senegal go through
Monday, 10 June
Steely Senegal determined to go further
Ireland midfielder McAteer fit for Saudi showdown
Sunday, 9 June
Torrado strikes a goal for his and Mexico's future
U.S. coach Arena expects big guns to reach last 16
Saturday, 8 June
Hope for Croatia,fear for Italy after Ibaraki upset
China hold heads high despite defeat by Brazil

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