20 years since David Beckham’s famous free-kick against Greece

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David Beckham still gets goosebumps when he thinks about his most famous goal, scored on this day at Old Trafford 20 years ago.

Manchester United’s no. 7 had delivered enough memorable moments in front of the Stretford End to make him an icon, and yet it was in an England shirt, with the same number on his back, that he provided the most celebrated free-kick of his career.

With the Three Lions playing away from Wembley while the stadium was being rebuilt, England was losing 2-1 to Greece and defeat meant Sven Goran-Eriksson’s side would be forced into a playoff game against Ukraine in order to reach the 2002 World Cup.


Remembering the moment two decades on, Beckham posted a video on Instagram showing his reaction as he listened to the radio commentary of Alan Green from that day at the Theatre of Dreams.

“A goal for England now will take them through automatically into the World Cup finals. Beckham to take it, 25 yards out, oh…” Alan Green sighs with anticipation.

“Captain Beckham, waits. Beckham comes forward, right-footed, up over the wall, and into the net, David Beckham has done it! It had to be Beckham – England’s Man of the Match!”

“20 years ago today and my first time listening to this commentary…” Beckham wrote on Instagram.

“To represent my country, to captain my country, to score a goal for the fans, and to do it all at Old Trafford…”

Beckham told Sportsmail that he still gets “goosebumps when I think about it, talk about it, watch it, it was just a special moment.”

“That moment was redemption for what had happened because up until then there was always that cloud around the sending off [Beckham had seen red against Argentina at the 1998 World Cup]. I felt that the real England fans and the fans that disliked me for a few years, all of a sudden we’re like “okay, that’s it, we can move on now”.