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Last Updated: Friday, 25 June, 2004, 12:37 GMT 13:37 UK
Beckham to stay as skipper

David Beckham
David Beckham said he would not resign as England skipper despite his team's defeat to Portugal at Euro 2004.

The Real Madrid midfielder has taken the brunt of the criticism back home following some below-par performances.

"I am England captain and I will not be resigning my role unless the manager wants me to," he said: "I love playing football for my country."

National coach Sven-Goran Eriksson lent his full backing to Beckham, confirming he would keep him as captain.

Beckham was in forceful mood when he met the media on Friday for the first time since the penalty shoot-out defeat.

In the wake of criticism of his individual displays, he angrily defended his role - and denied he was not properly fit.

"You are always tired at the end of a season," he said.

I said before the tournament that we had a great team and I still feel that
David Beckham
"But in games like the Portugal quarter-final, fatigue doesn't come into it - momentum carries you along.

"Every time I get criticised, I'll come back fighting - that's me."

Asked if Beckham would remain captain, Eriksson replied with an unequivocal "yes", adding: "I think he was very unlucky with the penalty, his left foot slipped and the ball moved."

Both Eriksson and Beckham expressed their pride in the England team who lost 6-5 on penalties to the hosts.

"I was proud to walk off the pitch with those players," added Beckham.

"Certain players - like Ashley Cole - didn't deserve to be on the losing team.

"Our fans were impeccable and they deserve to still be in the tournament, but I don't think we've let anyone down because you can only give your best and all of us did that."

Beckham, 29, told a farewell media conference in Lisbon that he remained sure his England team were capable of success.

"I still believe this team can go far," he said.

"I said before the tournament that we had a great team and I still feel that, but I also said that you needed a bit of luck."

But he did admit that the 2006 World Cup might represent his last personal chance at international glory.

"It might be my last tournament," he said, "but we'll have to wait and see. If my legs are up to it, there might be another."

Links to more England stories


Portugal break England hearts
24 Jun 04 |  Euro 2004
Beckham takes the blame
24 Jun 04 |  England
What went wrong with Beckham?
25 Jun 04 |  England
Eriksson vows to stay on
25 Jun 04 |  England
Eriksson cools controversy
25 Jun 04 |  England


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