Beckham free-kick vs Greece: England would've won the World Cup had he missed

David Beckham's free-kick vs Greece sent England to the 2002 World Cup

England fans will never forget October 6th, 2001.

In front of a packed Old Trafford, Three Lions captain David Beckham fired his nation to the 2002 World Cup finals with a stunning 93rd-minute free-kick against Greece.

The strike from ‘Golden Balls’ is still one of the most iconic in English history, despite the fact Sven Goran Eriksson’s side were eliminated at the quarter-final stage out in Japan and South Korea.

But those events in 2002 could have been very, very different.

One football fan has a theory that England would have won the World Cup that year if – wait for it – Beckham had MISSED his famous free-kick against Greece.

It may sound like an utterly bizarre thing to say, but when it’s explained in full, there is some decent reasoning behind it.

Below, you can check out Tom’s theory in full, courtesy of one of GIVEMESPORT’s ‘unpopular opinion’ videos.

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Had Beckham missed, England would likely have qualified for the 2002 World Cup by beating Ukraine in a play-off game.

Reaching the tournament in that manner would have handed the Three Lions a far easier run to the final – on paper at least.

As Tom mentions, England would likely have beaten Paraguay in the last-16, USA in the quarters and host nation South Korea at the semi-final stage.

In the final, they’d have met Brazil and this is where Tom believes Beckham would have performed his magic trick from a set-piece situation in the final minutes of the game.

Beckham vs Greece

If we’re being honest, the final part of the theory is a tad farfetched, as Brazil’s class of 2002 is still revered as one of the greatest teams in history.

Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho, Roberto Carlos, Cafu, the South American nation’s side was ridiculously strong over 18 years ago.

England’s wasn’t bad either, but the Three Lions’ array of players was a level below those possessed by the Selecao.

So while it’s entirely plausible that Eriksson’s side would have reached the final if Beckham had skied his effort against Greece, triumphing at the 2002 tournament is a bit of a stretch.

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