Beckham on losing side in his 100th football international

March 27th, 2008 - 12:51 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of David Beckham

Paris, March 27 (DPA) David Beckham joined an elite group of players to win 100 caps for his country but ended up on the losing side as England were beaten 1-0 by France in an international friendly. The former England captain, brought back into the fold by new manager Fabio Capello, was a fairly peripheral figure but received a standing ovation when David Bentley replaced him in the 63rd minute Wednesday.

Beckham received a yellow card for his troubles, but was delighted to join Billy Wright, Bobby Charlton, Bobby Moore and Peter Shilton in reaching the century of caps.

“I’m very honoured. Straight from when I started playing for England I never dreamed I’d get 100 caps, and hopefully beyond. I’m happy but like I said during the week I want to carry on. Of course, things can change but I want to carry on playing for my country,” Beckham said.

“Just to go over the 100 mark is a proud moment. To be up there with Bobby Moore, Bobby Charlton, Billy Wright and Peter Shilton, I’m honoured to be in that company.”

Franck Ribery scored the only goal of the game, in the 33rd minute, from the penalty spot after goalkeeper David James brought down Nicolas Anelka, and France deserved their win as they were the more accomplished side throughout the match at the Stade de France.

With Beckham restored to the starting line-up, Capello fielded a 4-2-3-1 formation, led by Rio Ferdinand, with Joe Cole and Steven Gerrard supporting Wayne Rooney in attack.

Gareth Barry and Owen Hargreaves acted as defensive midfielders, Frank Lampard was left out of the starting 11 while Jonathan Woodgate missed out reportedly because of a tight hamstring.

France, without Thierry Henry and Karim Benzema, recalled David Trezeguet up front alongside Anelka and they looked the more potent front-line from the start.

Gerrard headed a couple of half-chances over the bar, but the first half was largely uneventful until Chelsea striker Anelka broke into the area, took the ball past James and then went to ground under the challenge of the England goalkeeper.

Ribery sent James the wrong way from the penalty spot to put the home side ahead.

Capello showed his intentions when he made four changes at half-time, with John Terry, Gerrard, Joe Cole and Rooney all coming off, replaced by Joleon Lescott, Stewart Downing, Peter Crouch and Michael Owen, reverting to a more traditional 4-4-2 formation.

But France were just as good as England in possession and limited Capello’s side to half-chances, while James saved well from Ribery to prevent France winning by a bigger margin.

Former Liverpool striker Djibril Cisse hit the side netting after racing past Ashley Cole, but in the end it was Ribery’s penalty that proved the difference to leave the travelling England fans with a bitter taste in their mouths.

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