England captain David Beckham suffered a broken foot playing for Manchester United in the Champions League on this day in 2002, sparking fears he would not be fit for that summer’s World Cup.
The United midfielder, whose stoppage-time free-kick in the last qualifier against Greece had taken the Three Lions to the finals, was on the end of a tough tackle from Deportivo La Coruna’s Aldo Duscher in a quarter-final second leg at Old Trafford.
Not only did the injury end Beckham’s domestic campaign, it also introduced most of the nation to the word metatarsal.
His recovery from that broken metatarsal was the source of daily interest, but Beckham eventually was passed fit and led England out against Sweden in their group stage opener on June 2.
A few days later he scored the only goal of the game as England beat Argentina 1-0, memorably getting redemption for his 1998 red card.
There were realistic hopes that Sven-Goran Eriksson’s side could win the tournament, especially as they led Brazil in the quarter-final, only for Beckham to pull out of a challenge just before half-time with Rivaldo going on to score the equaliser.
Ronaldinho’s second-half free-kick ensured that Brazil, who went on to win the tournament, won 2-1.