David Beckham made his first appearance for the England national football team on September 1, 1996, in a World Cup qualifier against Moldova. He had featured in all of England’s qualifiers for the 1998 World Cup in France, but then England manager Glenn Hoddle accused him of not focusing on the tournament. He did not start England’s first 2 games of the tournament, but was picked for the 3rd match and scored from a long-range free-kick in a 2-0 victory. This was his first goal for England.
In the Round of 16 at the World Cup, he was sent off for kicking at Argentina’s Diego Simeone, who had fouled him beforehand. Simeone later admitted he, along with many of his team-mates, were trying to influence the referee into sending Beckham off. The match finished a draw, and England were knocked out via a penalty shoot-out. He was blamed by much of the media and many fans for England’s exit and he became the target for abuse.
The abuse of Beckham from fans continued into Euro 2000, as England were knocked out by Portugal, losing 3-2, a match in which Beckham set up both of England’s goals. Afterwards, he was taunted by a set of England supporters and he responded by sticking up his middle finger. While the reaction saw some more criticism towards him, many newspapers were urgently asking England supporters to stop abusing him.
On 15th November 2000, following the resignation of Kevin Keegan as England manager the month before, Beckham was promoted to team captain by caretaker boss Pater Taylor, and was kept that way under new manager Sven-Goran Eriksson. He helped England to qualify for the 2002 World Cup, and after impressive performances against Germany and Greece, he suddenly transformed himself from villain to hero. The final step of this happened after he scored the equalizer to give England the draw they needed desperately on October 6, 2001. Shortly afterwards, he was voted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 2001, and he finished runner up once again in the FIFA World Player of the Year award, this time to Portugal’s Luis Figo.
Beckham was partially fit for the 2002 World Cup and played in the first match against Sweden, scoring the winner against Argentina from the penalty spot and causing Argentina to fail to qualify for the knockout round. England were knocked out by eventual winners, Brazil at the quarter final stage. Beckham played in all of England’s matches at Euro 2004 in Portugal, but the tournament ended in disappointment for him as he had 2 penalties missed against France and Portugal respectively. England lost 2-1 to France and were knocked out by eventual finalists and hosts Portugal in a penalty shoot-out.
In 2005, Beckham captained England for the 50th time, this time in a friendly against Argentina. A month before, he was sent off against Austria, making him the first England captain to be sent off and the first England player to be sent off twice. In the 2006 World Cup, Beckham’s free-kick against Paraguay led to an own goal by Carlos Gamarra and England won 1-0. He also assisted Steven Gerrard and Peter Crouch’s goals against Trinidad and Tobago on June 15th, as England went on to win the game 2-0.
During the knockout stage match versus Ecuador, Beckham scored a free-kick, becoming the first player to score in 3 separate World Cups for England. It gave England a 1-0 victory and a place in the quarter finals against Portugal. In that quarter final, he was subbed off due to injury at half time, as England went on to finish the game goalless after extra time and eventually losing 3-1 on penalties. A day after being knocked out of the World Cup, an emotional Beckham made this statement in a news conference as he stepped down as England captain:
“It has been an honor and privilege to captain my country but, having been captain for 58 of my 95 games, I feel the time is right to pass on the armband as we enter a new era under Steve McClaren.”
Beckham was soon succeeded as England captain by Chelsea defender John Terry. He was left out of the England side until May 26, 2007, and he started against Brazil. It was the first time he had featured for England since stepping down as captain. He also set up England’s goal, which was scored by John Terry. He did play his part in England’s qualifying games for Euro 2008, but it was all in vain as they failed to qualify for the tournament.
In a friendly against France in March 2008, he became only the fifth Englishman to reach 100 caps for the country. New manger Fabio Capello hinted that Beckham was part of the long term plans to achieve qualification for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Beckham was honored before a match against Trinidad and Tobago on June 1st that year by receiving an honorary gold cap representing his 100th cap from Sir Bobby Charlton, and was also given a standing ovation from the crowd.
He played his part in the World Cup qualifiers as England finished top of their group, but in March 2010, he suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon injury and he was ruled out of the tournament in South Africa. He never featured for England again after this injury, but has remained part of the England set up as he wants to help the development of young players. He reached 115 caps for his country, 10 behind record holder Peter Shilton.
Beckham’s Club Football Career
- 1992-2003: Manchester United – (394 apps, 85 goals)
- 1994-1995: Preston North End (Loan) – (5 apps, 2 goals)
- 2003-2007: Real Madrid – (157 apps, 19 goals)
- 2007-2012: LA Galaxy – (118 apps, 20 goals)
- 2009-2010: AC Milan (Loan) – (33 apps, 2 goals)
- 2013: Paris St-Germain – (14 apps, no goals)
- Major Honors: 6 Premier League titles, 1 Champions League, 2 FA Cups, 4 Community Shields, 1 Intercontinental Cup, 1 La Liga title, 1 Supercopa de Espana, 2 MLS Cups, 1 Ligue 1 title
Written by OneFutbol