On This Day In 2001: David Beckham Rescues England With Last-Ditch Freekick Against Greece (Video)

Chris Wright

6th, October 2016



Remember when, with immediate effect, David Beckham erased the memory of 92 shoddy minutes of tripe by sticking his 93rd-minute freekick past the Greece goalkeeper to send England to the World Cup?

Yeah? Recall it? Well that was 15 years ago, buddy. Fifteen. Bloody. Years. Celtic now have players on their books who weren’t even born at the moment Beckham’s curler rustled into the net at Old Trafford.

England were 2-1 down and on the verge of missing out on automatic qualifying for the 2002 World Cup when, with the final kick of the match, a shaven and shorn Becks finally got one of his set-pieces right.

Amid the pandemonium, many fans were left struggling to grasp the actual trajectory that Beckham’s shot took.

Thankfully the BBC website has on hand to assist with this rather nifty bird’s-eye graphic…

As it happens, Germany’s concurrent 0-0 draw against Finland meant that England would have squeaked through anyway had Beckham’s ‘Hail Mary’ not gone in.

Any road up, it secured a 2-2 draw for England that lifted them to the top of Group 9 on goal difference while Germany were left to qualify via a potentially tricky play-off against Ukraine, which they won 5-2 on aggregate.

Germany went on to reach the final at Japan-South Korea. England were jettisoned by eventual-winners Brazil at the quarter-final stage thanks to Ronaldinho’s over-hit fluke.

Still, memories…

15-year-old memories…

Posted in England, Retro

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  1. Craig says:

    Remember this so well. Nail-biting stuff and pure inspiration fro Beckham!

  2. Tom Brown says:

    I think that world cup was the last world cup England looked vaguely competitive. Since then its been dire

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