Time to settle score with Brazil says Beckham
MANCHESTER, England, June 4: England captain David Beckham says his men are gunning for a revenge victory over holders Brazil at the World Cup.
A Brazil side, who finished with only 10 men after Ronaldinho's red card, came from a goal down to beat England 2-1 in their quarter-final in Japan four years ago.
Beckham, who plays with the likes of Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos at Real Madrid, believes England are now good enough to return the favour by dumping the favourites out of the finals in Germany.
''Every one of our team would like to come up against the best team in the world and that's Brazil,'' Beckham told reporters. ''We'd love to come up against them at some point.'' ''With the players Brazil have it's hard to actually believe you can beat them but in this team it's different.'' Despite his respect for Brazilian football, Beckham felt England had come close in 2002 at a steamy Shizuoka stadium.
Striker Michael Owen gave them a 1-0 lead, only for Rivaldo to equalise just before the break.
''I've played with five Brazilians for a whole season and believe Brazilian players are technically the best in the world,'' said the 31-year-old midfielder.
''But in that game, when Michael scored, we actually thought: 'We can do this'. I think when they scored it just knocked that out of us.
''When we went in at halftime and it was 1-1 you looked around the changing room, everyone was dead -- not just from the goal they scored but because the climate was tough for us in that tournament.'' A year later, Beckham was in Madrid and playing alongside some of his former opponents, discovering that the respect between the two footballing countries was mutual.
Beckham said there was plenty of changing room banter at Real about the English game and an appreciation of the physical commitment in the Premier League.
''The Brazilians joke and laugh but I don't think they like playing against teams like the English team.
''When I play a strong pass to someone's feet, they always say it's an English pass. They say that but they respect the English game so much.
''We'll sit there before our games watching the English games on telly and they'll be watching the tackles flying in.
''Some players look and think: 'Not sure about that' but the Brazilians love the Premiership. They respect English football a lot.'' England open their campaign in Group B next Saturday against Paraguay with a belief they can go all the way, whether or not injured striker Wayne Rooney can play a part.
''This is the best squad we've had and the best chance we've had since I've been in the team,'' Beckham said. ''That's almost 10 years now.
''It's most confident team I've ever played in, going into a competition like this.'' Asked if lifting the World Cup would make him cry, Beckham said: ''Oh, without a doubt. It's made many captains cry over many years of footall and World Cups...and I'm quite an emotional person.''