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Wednesday, July 1, 1998 Published at 18:19 GMT 19:19 UK

Sport: Football

Beckham says sorry

Beckham: "The worst moment of my career"

David Beckham has apologised to the nation for being sent off during England's second round defeat to Argentina on Tuesday.

The Manchester United midfielder said: "This is without doubt the worst moment of my career. I will always regret my actions during last night's game.

"I have apologised to the England players and management and I want every England supporter to know how deeply sorry I am."

Fifa banned the 23-year-old for two games, meaning he will miss the start of England's 2000 European Championships qualifying campaign this autumn.

He was also fined £2,000 by world football's governing body.

[ image: Hoddle:
Hoddle: "Don't persecute Beckham"
Beckham has come under heavy criticism from players, managers and fans for his petulant kick on Diego Simeone, after he was fouled by the Argentine captain.

The incident, two minutes into the second half, was right in front of Danish referee Kim Nielsen.

England coach Glenn Hoddle admitted that the 23-year-old's dismissal cost his side potential glory in the World Cup.

"David Beckham's sending off cost us dearly," Hoddle said. "I am not denying it cost us the game."

But he added: "But it would be wrong to put the blame on David Beckham's shoulders or anybody's shoulders. I'm not looking for someone to blame.

"I just hope that the country next year respect the fact that he has done fantastic in the past. And he has got a great, great future - we would be cutting our noses off to spite our face."

[ image: Beckham: bright future]
Beckham: bright future
And in Wednesday's statement Beckham said he was looking forward to making amends.

"I only hope that I will have the opportunity in the future to be part of a successful England team in the European Championships and World Cup."

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