On this day 2001: David Beckham’s late equaliser secures England World Cup spot

By Sports Desk October 06, 2023 2131

England captain David Beckham scored a last-minute free-kick on this day in 2001 to salvage a 2-2 draw against Greece and secure his country a place at the upcoming World Cup.

Sven-Goran Eriksson’s team were losing 2-1 entering stoppage-time at Old Trafford and heading for a World Cup play-off with Ukraine when Beckham rescued his team.

Beckham curled home a trademark free-kick in the third minute of added time to send England to the World Cup in Japan and South Korea and help the midfielder earn redemption for his red card at the 1998 World Cup.

 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by David Beckham (@davidbeckham)

 

The sending-off of Beckham for kicking out at Argentina’s Diego Simeone during England’s last-16 penalty shoot-out defeat in France three years earlier had resulted in a huge public backlash for the then-Manchester United winger.

Beckham would go on to help United win the treble in 1999 before he became permanent captain of his country upon the arrival of Eriksson as England manager.

Ahead of England’s final World Cup qualification match against Greece, the Three Lions were still vying with Germany for top spot in Group Nine.

Greece took a shock lead at Old Trafford through Angelos Charisteas and while England substitute Teddy Sheringham levelled in the 68th-minute, the hosts’ joy was short-lived.

Demis Nikolaidis immediately put Greece back in front and England were – at this point – set to finish a point behind Germany, who were being held by Finland.

Beckham was desperate to lead his country to the 2002 World Cup and after several failed set-piece efforts, he found his range in the third minute of second half stoppage time with a stunning strike to spark wild celebrations at his home ground.

News filtered through around the same time of Germany’s draw with Finland, which meant England finished top of Group Nine and were assured of their place at the tournament in Japan and South Korea.

Rate this item
(0 votes)
Last modified on Friday, 06 October 2023 07:49
© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.