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FOOTBALL: EURO 2004: KICKED IN THE GAULS; Zidane's injury-time double leaves England in despair.

Byline: JOHN CROSS in Lisbon

DAVID BECKHAM broke down in tears and admitted he was to blame for England's heartbreaking last-gasp defeat at the Stadium of Light last night.

The England captain missed a chance to wrap up a win when his penalty was saved - and then saw Zinedine Zidane strike twice in injury time to complete a remarkable fightback for France following Frank Lampard's opener.

Beckham, whose 72nd-minute spot-kick was blocked by Fabien Barthez, said: "I hold my hands up, if I'd scored then we would have gone 2-0 up and we would have won the game. All of the

players are sitting in the dressing room wondering what's happened. But we'll all try to move on and come back in our next game against Switzerland on Thursday.

"We've outplayed the best team in the world for 90 minutes and maybe if I'd put the penalty away it would have been very different."

Beckham believes England must win their remaining Group B matches against Switzerland and Croatia or crash out of the tournament.

It was one of the most devastating defeats in Beckham's career but he rated his red card against Argentina in the World Cup as his lowest moment in the game.

The Real Madrid midfielder added: "I think we need to win both games now. Losing has not put us in a great position. We played a great team and did well but that doesn't help as we still lost.

"But I've been through worse - the World Cup in 1998 was worse of course.

"We have to come back after this and lift ourselves, as we can take a lot from this performance."

England coach Sven Goran Eriksson heaped praise on his players for their gritty display in defending the one-goal lead into injury time.

Eriksson said: "After 90 minutes we were very happy and then suddenly we lose a free kick and a penalty.

"The players are very down but we will come back from this. It happens in football.

"Barthez made a great save. But we should be proud of what we did because we did not deserve to lose this game at all.

"The players all did an excellent job and we will keep working on it. I think maybe we have to win both games now.

"But I hope we will meet France again in the final on July 4 as I'm sure we cannot have such bad luck twice in the tournament."

CAPTION(S):

ANGUISH: Eriksson; ZZ TOPS: Zidane celebrates with Lizarazu after his free-kick equaliser; AGONY: Beckham and James are inconsolable; after England's defeat; Pictures: BRADLEY ORMESHER
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 14, 2004
Words:436
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