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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 June, 2004, 23:59 GMT 00:59 UK
Beckham takes the blame

PORTUGAL 2-2 ENGLAND (Portugal win 6-5 on penalties)
David Beckham holds his head after missing a penalty in the shoot-out
England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson revealed David Beckham was blaming himself for England's penalty shoot-out defeat at Euro 2004 to Portugal.

England lost 6-5 on penalties with Beckham and Darius Vassell missing.

"David might be blaming himself but football is like that, especially when you go to penalties," said Eriksson.

"It's a skill but it is also a lottery and I think he slipped with his foot once again unfortunately. But life has to go on, though it is a pity."

It is the third penalty in a row that Beckham has missed for England.

Eriksson added: "I feel sad for the players and the fans, who have behaved extremely well.

"I thought we had a good chance to reach the final, unfortunately we will go back to England."

October 2003: Turkey 0-0 England - He slips as he shoots and the ball flies over the bar
June 2004: England 1-2 France - This time his spot-kick is saved by Barthez after Rooney is felled
June 2004: Portugal 2-2 England (Portugal win on penalties) - The shoot-out gets off to a disastrous start as he balloons it over the bar when the penalty spot appears to give way

About the condition of the penalty spots, Eriksson added: "Twice before both games we played at this stadium we complained.

"I complained personally to the Uefa official responsible about the penalty spot.

"Then on Wednesday for a second time we talked about it again to Uefa and they said they would replace some of the grass on it."

Striker Michael Owen admitted the penalty shoot-out defeat was hard to take after his goal had put England 1-0 up just three minutes in.

After pulling off a great save, he then probably scored the best penalty of the lot
David James on his Portuguese counterpart Ricardo
"It's a big disappointment to lose like this but it always seems to happen. It's a bitter blow," said Owen.

"It's a sand-based pitch, and the way people take penalties they put a lot of pressure on their standing foot and it just seemed to give way."

Midfielder Frank Lampard said he and his team-mates were "devastated" by the manner of their exit.

"To go out on penalties is the biggest kick in the teeth you can have in football," said Lampard.

"We've worked very hard to get here and after coming back from the dead in extra-time, we're all devastated.

"We seem to be unlucky in these situations - but how many times are you going to be unlucky?"

Goalkeeper David James admitted he was "gutted" not to have saved any of Portugal's penalties.

"That was not a miss by Darius, it was a great save by the keeper," he said. "Being a member of the goalkeeper's union, I'm a bit annoyed about him (Ricardo).

"After pulling off a great save, he then probably scored the best penalty of the lot."

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