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Monday, June 10, 2002

Argentines hit Mills in tunnel
Ken Dyer in Awaji

The true extent of the Argentina players' lack of grace in defeat by England can be revealed today.

Danny Mills battles with Argentina's Kily Gonzalez (Allsport)

It has emerged that Danny Mills was hit by an opponent in the tunnel while he was giving an interview after England's momentous victory on Friday.

The England right-back did not see who his assailant was and the matter was not taken further. This latest revelation comes after other incidents became public over the weekend. Numerous England players were spat at during the game and Paul Scholes was verbally abused by two opponents after the match when he was also giving an interview.

Some of the Argentinian players, clearly devastated by the defeat, also refused to shake hands and swap shirts with England.

Mills said: 'When you're wiping phlegm off your face for a second time, having nursed a stray elbow only minutes earlier, it takes a degree of discipline not to lose your cool.

'People questioned my discipline before the World Cup and even asked if I should be here at all.

'Before the Argentina game I had more than my fair share of doubters as to how I was going to react but I went out there determined not to let anyone down and show that I had learned lessons from past mistakes.'

Meanwhile, England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson looks certain to make just one change to his England starting line-up for Wednesday's Group F showdown against Nigeria in Osaka.

West Ham's Trevor Sinclair, who did so well after coming on as an 18th-minute substitute in the 1-0 victory over Argentina, will again feature on the left of midfield in the continued absence of injured Owen Hargreaves.

'That was the high point of my career, to be playing for my country in a World Cup,' said the West Ham star. 'I just want to stay in the team now. I feel like part of the squad at last and I'm really looking forward to Nigeria.'

Manchester United's Nicky Butt, who was outstanding against Argentina following his return from injury, is suffering from blisters but is expected to be fit to play alongside Scholes in the centre of midfield. Captain David Beckham is also expected to complete another 90 minutes.

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