Referee returns to haunt Beckham

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The Independent Online

The referee assigned to England's World Cup quarter-final against Portugal on Saturday sent off David Beckham for a studs-up tackle six years ago.

Argentina's Horacio Elizondo showed Beckham the red card during a match between Manchester United and Mexican side Necaxa in the first game of the 2000 World Club Championship in Brazil.

The midfielder's lunge at Jose Milian revived doubts about his temperament following his dismissal at the 1998 World Cup, but he was defended by the United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, after the match.

Since then, Elizondo has officiated at the Olympic football tournament in Athens in 2004, and the opening match of this World Cup between Germany and Costa Rica.

He created some controversy during South Korea's match against Switzerland when he overruled his linesman's offside flag and allowed Alexander Frei to make it 2-0 after spotting the ball had come off the leg of a Korean defender.

Elizondo, a PE teacher, speaks English as well as Spanish, and lists his interests as playing golf and writing poems.

After he dismissed Beckham, Ferguson said: "The reaction of the Mexican players got him sent off and that's disappointing."

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