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Last Updated: Sunday, 12 October, 2003, 09:41 GMT 10:41 UK
Beckham defies Turkey taunts
David Beckham (left) and Alpay
He clipped me round the ear and said something nasty about my mother
David Beckham

England skipper David Beckham admitted a half-time tunnel fracas in Istanbul was sparked when he confronted Turkey defender Alpay.

The Real Madrid midfielder was unhappy with comments Alpay made about his mother after he missed a penalty in the 37th minute of the Euro 2004 qualifier.

The half-time confrontation led to a large scuffle involving players and staff from each team in the tunnel at the Sukru Saracoglu stadium.

Beckham said: "He clipped me round the ear and said something nasty about my mother.

"It was not a nice thing to hear. Then I confronted him in the tunnel and all the other players started coming in and their players were over-reacting."

The duo were then summoned by Italian referee Pierluigi Collina in an effort to calm things down.

"The referee just said calm things down, have a word with your players," Beckham said.

"He said this game is too big to be ruined by a bit of silliness.

"Passions were running high but we said we've stuck together all week through some difficult times and our reward will come tonight."

England centre-half Sol Campbell played down the incident.

"There was a commotion in the tunnel - we call it handbags," he told BBC1's Breakfast with Frost programme.

"It was all sorted out and everyone went to their changing rooms."

Turkey coach Senol Gunes complained that the tunnel incident prevented him carrying out his planned half-time team talk.

"You have such a short time to talk about things and we had to speak first about what had happened in the tunnel," he said.

"That caused me to lose concentration and it was disruptive to us."

England captain David Beckham
"We showed great character"

England's Sol Campbell
"There was a commotion in the tunnel - we call it handbags"

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