Hero to Zero as Becks' World Falls Apart; Martyn Ziegler Offers Some Tongue-in-Cheek Predictions for 2002
Byline: Martyn Ziegler
Argentina win football's World Cup in the biggest event in the sporting calendar of 2002, beating England in a controversial final in Yokohama.
Incredibly, David Beckham repeats history by being sent off in the final for retaliation and England go on to lose on penalties.
Beckham once more finds himself public enemy No 1 and leaves England for Real Madrid for a mere pounds 5 million under the terms of football's new transfer laws. The Manchester United star is also involved in controversy at the end of the English domestic season in an incident in the last match ofthe campaign which leads to referee Dermot Gallagher being unceremoniously sacked. Premier League referees' chief Philip Don explains the decision in a statement, saying: ``The action has been taken after the official concerned failed to dismiss a player who looked at David Beckham in a funny way.''
In Europe, despite having a poor season on the domestic front, Arsenal out-do Liverpool and Manchester United by making the final of the Champions' League.
In the final at Hampden Park, the Gunners distinguish themselves by having three players sent off --- a new record --- as they are thrashed by Real Madrid.
In cricket, India's tour of England proceeds without problems, although Somerset's Andy Caddick and Glamorgan's Robert Croft both pull out of the Lord's and OvalTests, claiming they are too scared to drive along the M4. …