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Beckham backs England to beat Australia

Simon Baskett in Madrid | November 21, 2003 10:50 IST

England's soccer captain David Beckham says he has been inspired by the performance of his country's rugby team in the World Cup and is backing them to beat hosts Australia in Saturday's final.

"Of course they are going to win the World Cup. I don't know by how much though," Beckham told reporters after training at Real Madrid on Wednesday.

"It's going to be a hard, tight game, but I think that with the way they are playing, the passion they are showing, and the way the whole country is getting behind them, then they have got a great chance."

Jonny Wilkinson (L) and David Beckham have a joke during the latest adidas campaign on location at Mottram HallThe 28 year-old midfielder, who shot a television advertisement with England's talismanic rugby flyhalf Jonny Wilkinson, said he wished he could attend the Sydney final to cheer on his mate.

"I'd love to be there," Beckham said. "I'm not a big rugby man, but obviously since I've become friends with Jonny I've been watching it a lot more and got a lot more interested in it.

"To watch what they are doing and the way they are performing, especially the way the national anthem was sung the other day, was pretty amazing.

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'Jonny not the biggest threat'
"I've got English television in Madrid now, so I'm sure I'll be able to watch it."

Beckham said he admired the way England captain Martin Johnson's team had dealt with the pressure of being one of the pre-tournament favourites.

"I think the whole country is proud of what they are doing over there," he said. "Both the England football and rugby teams have got that same passion and commitment to play for the country so we have got the same sort of way of playing.

"I'll certainly be celebrating if they win, and I've got no doubts that they will. Hopefully if they can go all the way, the England football team can do the same one day, too."

Photograph: Getty Images

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