David Beckham equalled Bobby Moore’s record of 108 England caps for an outfield player after coming on as a substitute in the 2-0 defeat in Spain. Footy Boots takes' look back at Beckham’s international career.
Beckham made his first appearance for England in the autumn of 1996 when he played against Moldova in a World Cup qualifier. Two years on, he was a regular in the side and played in all of their qualifying matches as England progressed to the World Cup finals in France.
World Cup 1998
He missed out on the first 2 games of the tournament but returned for the group match against Colombia and scored from his now ‘trademark’ free kick.
However, his darkest days as an international player soon followed when he was sent off against Argentina in the last 16 as England bowed out of the Finals on penalties. Beckham was blamed by some fans and journalists for England’s exit and he also received death threats.
The abuse continued as Beckham ‘s international career went on but following the resignation of Glenn Hoddle, he was made captain by caretaker boss Peter Taylor, a role he was to make his own under Sven Goran Eriksson.
World Cup 2002
Under the Swede, England prospered and made it to the finals of the 2002 World Cup, a run that included a 5' – 1 win away to Germany in Munich and a 1 man show by the Manchester United player who scored another long range free kick to force a 2 – 2 draw at home to Greece in the last group match.
An injury meant he wasn’t fully fit by the time the Finals were played but he was still good enough to slot home a penalty in the group stages as the South Americans failed to qualify for the second round. England though lost out to Brazil in the knockout stages.
Euro 2004 was a disappointment for both the team and Beckham personally. He had a penalty saved in England’s 2-1 defeat to France and missed another in a penalty shootout in the quarter final against Portugal. Yet again, England were eliminated on spot kicks.
The following year came another unwanted statistic as he became the first England captain to be sent off (against Austria) and also the first England player to be sent off twice.
Wolrd Cup 2006
It got better in 2006 as Beckham had a hand in a number of England goals in the group stages of the 2006 World Cup finals. In the second round, he scored from yet another free kick, becoming the first English player to score in 3 World Cup’s. But his luck ran out against Portugal in the quarter finals as he was substituted because of injury. Needless to say, the team lost out on spot kicks. The next day, he stepped down as captain.
New coach Steve McClaren then dropped him from the squad but had a change of heart in the spring of 2007 as Beckham was recalled. Club wise, he had moved from Real Madrid to the LA Galaxy and it was unclear whether the transfer would be the end of his international career. However, he didn’t immediately miss out on tournament football as England failed to qualify for Euro 2008, which resulted in McClaren being dismissed.
New coach Fabio Capello recalled his ex Madrid charge to the national squad and oversaw his 100th cap as Beckham joined an elite number of players (5) to reach a century. And, during the 2010 World Cup qualifier against Belarus in which England won 3-1 in Minsk, Beckham came off the bench in the 87th minute to earn his 107th cap making him England’s 3rd highest capped player in history over-taking Sir Bobby Charlton in the process.
David Beckham wears an Adidas signature football boot the Predator PowerSwerve DB
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Players: David Beckham
Availability: Around March 2009
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