Beckham ban could benefit England

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David Beckham should be available to play in both matches of England's tour of the United States after incurring a suspension for picking up a fifth yellow card in Real's 0-0 draw at home to their city rivals, Atletico Madrid, on Saturday.

The England captain was booked for a challenge onSergi in the 61st minute of the Primera Liga match.

He will now miss Real's last match of the season at Real Zaragoza. Real are likely to free Beckham for England's tour, although the Real coach, Wanderley Luxemburgo, said he would discuss the matter with the player and club before taking a final decision. England's first tour match is against the US on 28 May.

"I didn't get booked deliberately, I would never do that," he said. "It would never have been a yellow card in England. As far as I am concerned I will be spending the week with the team [Real Madrid]. I wanted to play in Zaragoza."

The Italian champions, Juventus, were held to a 2-2 draw at Livorno yesterday, while Atalanta became the first team to be relegated.

Juve clinched a record 28th title on Friday after their only rivals, Milan, were held to a 3-3 draw at home to Palermo.

After Pavel Nedved had put Juve ahead in the 10th minute, goals from Igor Protti and Cristiano Lucarelli gave Livorno the advantage before David Trezeguet's 66th-minute goal earned Juve a point.

Antonio Cassano gave Roma a 1-0 win at Atalanta to secure their top-flight status and condemn the Bergamo club to Serie B. Fiorentina are next to bottom after a 1-1 draw at Lazio while Siena, held 0-0 at Parma, currently occupy the other relegation slot.

Udinese took control of fourth place after they drew 1-1 at Cagliari and rivals Sampdoria were beaten 1-0 by third-placed Inter.

In France, Lyon are champions but there are issues to be resolved heading into the last weekend of France's Ligue 1.

Second-placed Lille lost 2-0 to relegation-threatened Ajaccio but are still in pole position for an automatic Champions' League qualifying place as their nearest challengers Monaco could only draw 1-1 at Bordeaux.

Lille are two points clear of Monaco going into the last weekend. The win also moved Ajaccio two places and one point above the drop zone. The battle is also still on for the Uefa Cup, with Rennes fourth after a 4-0 mauling of Strasbourg.

* A Polish referee has been arrested after accepting a bribe to fix two first division matches, according to police in Wroclaw yesterday.

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