England captain David Beckham said it would be an “absoulte disgrace” if goalkeeper David Seaman was made the scapegoat for the teams’ World Cup quarter-final defeat to Brazil.

The normally unflappable Arsenal keeper misjudged Ronaldinbho’s free-kick five minutes into the second-half to gift Brazil a lead they never looked like relinquishing.

The 38-year-old Seaman broke down in tears seconds after the final whistle and was consoled by several team-mates.

Beckham, who was held responsible for England’s exit four years ago, appealed for the press and public to refrain from villifying Seaman.

“For a start if anyone tries to make a scapegoat out of David Seaman I think it will be an absolute disgrace because I think he’s been the best goalkeeper in this tournament,’ said Beckham.

“The goal wasn’t his fault, it was a fluke goal. It was a cross that ended up being a goal.

“It will be a disgrace if he is made the scapegoat because he’s had a world class tournament.

Beckham believes that England squandered a glorious opportunity to take the game to their opponents after Brazil were reduced to ten-men when Ronaldinho was sent-off.

“We didn’t take advantage of the situation like we should have done but that’s the way things go,” he said.

“We’re all proud of ourselves and as a captain I’m proud of the team because we’ve come a long way in a short space of time. We’re a young team and I’m very proud.”