David Beckham will never forget the despair and desolation of two years ago - but he insists revenge is not England's prime motivation for beating Croatia at Wembley on Wednesday.
Beckham was introduced as a half-time substitute during the 3-2 defeat that cost England a place in Euro 2008, but less than two years later Fabio Capello's side can secure their spot at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa with a victory over the same opponents.
"Not qualifying for that competition was disastrous for us," said Beckham. "But Wednesday is not about revenge or putting bad memories to rest. Our objective is to reach the World Cup."
If England can do that and Beckham can retain his place when Capello announces his 23-man squad, the former Manchester United star would join a very exclusive club of players to have been to four World Cups. Any appearance in South Africa would make him the first man to play in four for the Three Lions.
"I have had an incredible career so far," he reflected. "I have had ups and downs, played in three World Cups, been captain of my country and played for some of the biggest clubs in the world.
"But if we reach another World Cup and I play some part, it will be up there with all the other achievements I've had in my career."
Nothing can be taken for granted though, especially as Beckham's short-term future beyond the current MLS season with Los Angeles Galaxy is still open to debate.
According to the complicated deal he worked out with the Galaxy, Beckham should be joining AC Milan on loan in January.
However, the former England skipper does have other alternatives, which include a return to the Premier League.
"Who knows what my future holds," he said. "As everyone is aware, I will finish the MLS season with LA Galaxy - and things have been going pretty well there - after that I need to do what I can to be involved in the rest of the games and, if we qualify, hopefully into the manager's plans for next year."
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