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   June 8, 2002 | 1700 IST



Battle of Wits

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'England penalty no penalty'

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David Beckham's penalty that gave England a 1-0 victory over World Cup favourites Argentina on Friday was no penalty, Franz Beckenbauer said on Saturday.

"The refereeing so far has been good but the referees have been very generous with penalties, as we saw again yesterday (Friday)," the German all-time great said at the Germany camp in this southern Japanese seaside resort.

Unlike respected match referee Pierluigi Collina, Beckenbauer judged that Michael Owen had not been brought down by Mauricio Pochettino.

"This comes to prove that even the greatest referee in the world can make mistakes," said Beckenbauer, speaking at a news conference of the organising committee of the 2006 World Cup in Germany, of which he is the chairman.

England captain Beckham converted the resulting spot-kick on 44 minutes for the only goal of the match.

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