'Better to come', says Beckham

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The England captain, David Beckham, was defiant yesterday after the nail-biting 2-0 victory over Trinidad & Tobago, which guaranteed qualification to the next round.

With England expected to win there was a deep sense of relief when Peter Crouch headed England into the lead in the 83rd minute and Steven Gerrard ensured the victory with a left-footed strike in the 91st.

"We never give up - that's the message we always give out. We knew it would be tough and people expect it to be tough," Beckham said.

"We knew it was going to be a hard game and they would get 11 men behind the ball and so it proved.

"They made it very hard for us but we knew our game plan would break them down. We finished strong which is good thing.

"It is always tight and tense when you are expected to win the game but we got the win which is the main thing at this point.

"The fans believe in us and they appreciate that we are working hard."

Beckham has promised England will get better the longer the tournament goes on. The Real Madrid player continued: "You have not seen the best of us. We have put ourselves in a good position and hopefully we will qualify as leaders. But better is yet to come."

Beckham also declared Wayne Rooney ready to take on the world's best after his 58th-minute introduction. There had been some concern over the Manchester United man's involvement in the game but his captain added: "He is ready now. He needs to get on and get fit and the manager made some good substitutions - very positive - and we pushed forward from that."

Beckham's comments were echoed by Terry Venables the former England manager, who argued that England could take a lot of positives from the game.

"It's exciting in fact because these were hard games against Paraguay and Trinidad and Tobago," he said. "The positives are Rooney's back and we started to play quicker make chances."

However, despite Gerrard's last-minute effort the central midfield partnership of Frank Lampard and Gerrard was still not able to impress.

"We need to let Lampard and Gerrard go. Lampard was not timing his runs properly. Three times he get in and three times and didn't score. Gerrard in the end scores around the goal. and he's been sitting back, but there's too much for them to do.

"I would base the team around those two going forward and an having an anchor man, bringing in Michael Carrick. But we can learn from today."