Beckham penalty failure costs team
LISBON, Portugal -- England skipper David Beckham held his hands up after missing a penalty in a heartbreaking 2-1 defeat by France in their Euro 2004 Group B opener on Sunday.
"If I'd scored the penalty we'd have won," a shattered Beckham told ITV.
"I have to hold my hands up to that. All credit to (France goalkeeper) Fabien (Barthez). I couldn't have hit it any better but he read me and made a good save."
Beckham's penalty miss came when England led 1-0.
France then replied with two goals in stoppage time by captain Zinedine Zidane.
Beckham said defeat was cruel on his teammates after they had contained a largely-disappointing French side.
"We've not deserved that. We were the better side for 80 or 90 minutes, we've performed really well.
"Sometimes you get the run of the ball and we didn't get it in the last few minutes, but that's football.
"We have to take a lot from the game and for 89 minutes minutes we played well. We (have to) take that into our next game, it is important we get ourselves up for the next game."
England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson was left stunned after Zidane's double in added time.
"We were very unlucky," the Swede told ITV. "Tactically we played very well and we were in control.
"I thought they had run out of ideas in the last 10 minutes and they never got beyond our back line. I thought we had won. Then to not even get a draw is unbelievable."
French coach Jacques Santini said the never say die attitude of the team was typical of their spirit.
"I never stop saying it but the group is ambitious and gets on really well.
"This was the perfect reply," commented the 52-year-old, who leaves for Spurs after the end of the tournament.