It was a trying week for Beckham, who took heat for
singlehandedly slowing the English economy and nearly had his
London house (a.k.a. Beckingham Palace) torched by an intruder
arrested on the grounds with a crowbar and a gas can. Figures
released last week showed retail spending in England jumped by
1.1 percent in June, a spike attributed to the country's run in
the Euro 2004 soccer championship. The Financial Times noted the
growth "surely would have been more pronounced were it not for...
Beckham's flat-footed penalty performance." That missed kick in a
loss to Portugal was caught by 25-year-old Pablo Carral--who sat
in row Q of Lisbon's Stade de Luz. Carral auctioned the ball off;
the gambling website goldenpalace.com bought it for $34,382 and
plans to take it on tour, perhaps allowing fans to try to boot it
into an open net for ¬£10 ($18) a pop.
COLOR PHOTO: CARLOS ALVAREZ/GETTY IMAGES (BECKHAM)