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Saturday, 22 June, 2002, 04:36 GMT 05:36 UK
No glory in defeat
The British media's reaction to England's defeat
The British media's reaction to England's defeat
Saturday's British newspapers agree England's World Cup defeat to Brazil represents a missed opportunity for Sven-Goran Eriksson's men.

But most seem to heed David Beckham's plea not to berate goalkeeper David Seaman after the veteran keeper let in Ronaldinho's looping free-kick.

The Sun's front page has a picture of an emotional Seaman being embraced by captain Beckham.

Although it acknowledges the goalkeeper's error, there is some sympathy in the headline, which reads: "It's a crying shame (but nobody's perfect mate)".

However, it's inside back page does recount a similar incident in the 1995 European Cup Winners' Cup final .

David Seaman is dejected after England's defeat to Brazil
Seaman's devastation was clear

Seaman was famously beaten by Nayim's lob from the half-way line as Arsenal lost to Real Zaragoza.

Alongside a picture of the moment, a headline reads: "Here's one I let in earlier".

The 38-year-old keeper issued an apology to the nation immediately after the World Cup quarter-final.

And the Mail's back-page headline issues a plea on his behalf. It says simply "Forgive me".

The theme continues as the inside back pages carry his remorseful statement: "I'm so sorry... so very sorry."

Beckham is quoted on the back page of the Express: "Don't blame David" says the skipper who believes "it would be a disgrace if Seaman is made a scapegoat".

As for Brazil's match winner, the papers are divided as to whether Ronaldinho was lucky or genial.

"Sven's artisans destroyed by artistry of Ronaldinho" sighs The Daily Express.

The Daily Star is less charitable to the Paris St Germain playmaker, showing a picture of his second-half winner with the headline "You lucky fluker".

Defeat in Shizuoka is a bitter pill for England fans to swallow, with the tabloids largely shunning puns as a mark of respect.

For many of the tabloids, Germany's progress to the semi-finals rubs salt into English wounds.

The Mirror complains "and just when you thought it couldn't get any worse".

But Germany's unconvincing 1-0 win against the USA didn't impress former captain and coach Franz Beckenbauer.

Beckenbauer tells the The Daily Mail: "If you put all the players in a sack and punched it, whichever player you hit would deserve it."

Portuguese starlet

If this is the side's reward for progressing to the last four, you have to wonder what punishment Beckenbauer advocated after the 5-1 defeat to England.


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GROUP F
  P GD PTS
SWEDEN 3 +1 5
ENGLAND 3 +1 5
ARGENTINA 3 0 4
NIGERIA 3 -2 1

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