Exit Beckham, enter England as Dutch do Eriksson a favour

England 1 Austria 0: Referee is tricked into banishing the captain as Sven's struggling side qualify for finals despite a world of doubters

Sven Goran Eriksson, the England coach, said after the match at Old Trafford that there could be an appeal to Fifa, the world game's governing body, over Beckham's red card, which followed a raised arm in a challenge on Andreas Ibertsberger and then an alleged trip of the same player a minute later and which left England to play just over half an hour with 10 men.

"From the bench I thought it [the second yellow card] was very, very harsh," the Swede said. "I don't know if he touched him at all but there was no intention - it's very harsh. Maybe we can look at it - Fifa were here today so we will try to talk to them as well."

Regardless of whether or not there is a successful appeal, Beckham's first yellow card after Ibertsberger's theatrical fall, head in hands, meant that he would miss the final qualifying match against Poland on Wednesday. If he was stunned by the Spanish referee Luis Medina Cantalejo showing a card then, he was flabbergasted by the second, flourished as the Austrian lay on the ground. Not that it matters after Holland's 2-0 victory in the Czech Republic last night, which ensured that England will qualify even if they come second in their group behind Poland.

Eriksson was delighted to achieve his aim. "I'm delighted that we now know we will be taking part in the World Cup in Germany next year. Our win today showed the character and determination we have in this group of players. They were focused," he said. And the news also cheered up Beckham, for whom the dismissal brought a dreadful end to an awful week, which began with his son, Romeo, being taken to hospital after having convulsions. "It's been one of the worst weeks of my life because of what's happened to my son. It's been hard," said Beckham, who revealed that his son is "all right". He said: "I thought the first yellow was harsh and the second even harsher." Appeal or no, Beckham said: "I don't think the referee will change his mind."

Nothing is ever simple with this England team. A match with a tense and nervous opening 25 minutes before the goal and even more nail-biting final 30 was settled by a goal from the penalty spot. Peter Crouch, making his first competitive start in the absence of Wayne Rooney, fed the ball to Owen, who was held. It was a close call, but the referee pointed to the spot. Beckham, having fared so poorly with penalties, deferred to Frank Lampard, who sent Jürgen Macho the wrong way.

Surely that was the signal for England to relax and take command, but that never happened and, with Beckham off, the frustration and desperation built. At least Rooney is back to face Poland.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
film
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
News
peopleWarning - contains a lot of swearing
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project