Five memorable Beckham moments

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After 20 years in the game, more than 420 competitive matches including 115 appearances for England, David Beckham has announced his retirement from football.

Cameron McMillan looks back on five memorable moments in a career of a polarising player who started out on the youth grounds of Tottenham Hotspurs and Brimsdown Rovers and ended up an icon both on and off the pitch.

Goal from halfway
Beckham has scored 146 goals for clubs and country but one of his most famous came in just his second full season for Manchester United when he scored from over halfway against Wimbledon in the opening game of the 1996-97 season. Noticing goalie Neil Sullivan was off his line Beckham sent an inch perfect shot which dropped over Sullivan's head. It was his 10th goal for United and he would score another 75 in a career for the club which included six league titles, two FA Cup titles and an unforgettable Champions League final win over Bayern Munich when two Beckham corners set up late goals as United pinched a late win.

Sent off against Argentina
Beckham became the villain of the 1998 World Cup when he was sent-off in a round of 16 clash against Argentina, which England eventually lost on penalties (of course).

The match was tied at 2-2 when Beckham was red carded shortly after halftime for sticking out a foot to trip Digeo Simeone. Simeone made the most of it and fell to the ground while Danish referee Kim Milton Nielsen handed Beckham a straight red. England surged on with 10-men but without Beckham in the shootout, David Batty stepped up fifth and missed.

Bending it in against Greece
Beckham may have been blamed for England's exit in 1998 but he made up for it three years later by ensuring a spot in the 2002 tournament with a last-minute free kick against Greece during qualifying. Three minutes into injury time and down 2-1, England needed at least a draw to gain automatic qualification ahead of old rivals Germany. Up stepped Beckham to send a 30-metre free kick into the top left corner to send the Old Trafford crowd into delirium.

At the World Cup Beckham got his Argentine redemption with a 44th minute penalty in the second group match between the two rivals. It wasn't a knockout game or enough to ensure England a spot in the next round but they eventually progressed through to the quarter-finals where they were defeated by Brazil.

Sending it over against Portugal
The 2004 European Championships was yet another spectacular major tournament exit for Beckham. England and Portugal met in the quarter-finals and after a thrilling 120 minutes the match had to be decided by penalties (of course). Beckham stepped up first and completed one of the worst penalty attempts ever seen, rocketing the ball well over the crossbar and into the stands. Despite his miss England recovered to complete their next five penalties, after a Portugal miss, before Darius Vassell missed penalty number seven and England were shown the door.

He cost Aucklanders $2.9m
Well not Beckham directly, the Auckland Regional Council made the decision to spend $2.91 million on travel, accommodation and promotion for the ill-fated match between Beckham's LA Galaxy and the Oceania All Stars in 2008. 30,000 were expected to turn up to Mt Smart Stadium but ticket prices had to be dropped to half price the day before the match as well as two for the price of one deals. Just over 16,000 fans turned up. For what it's worth ($2.91m to be exact) Beckham's Galaxy ran out as 3-0 winners.

It was Beckham's second visit to New Zealand after 31,000 fans watched his Galaxy beat the Phoenix 4-1 at Wellington's Westpac Stadium.


- nzherald.co.nz

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