Twenty years have now passed since David Beckham scored the most famous free-kick of his illustrious career against Greece.
The former England captain fired his country to the 2002 World Cup finals with a stunning last-gasp free-kick at Old Trafford on October 6, 2001.
England were losing 2-1 and on the verge of a shock defeat when they were awarded a free-kick in the 93rd minute.
There was never any doubt over which player would take the set-piece. Beckham was widely regarded as the world’s best free-kick taker at the time and deservedly so.
The nation held its breath as the Manchester United icon stepped up to shoot.
Score and England would qualify for the following summer’s World Cup in Japan and South Korea.
Just three years earlier, Beckham was made to feel like public enemy number one in England after his red card against Argentina at France ’98.
This was a golden opportunity to complete his redemption – and the man nicknamed ‘Golden Balls’ took it with both hands.
Beckham’s crucial equaliser capped a magnificent individual performance from the winger. He was absolutely outstanding that afternoon in Manchester.
Video: Beckham practices free-kicks day before Greece game
While footage of his goal against Greece has been replayed countless times on British TV over the past two decades, a much rarer video from the previous day was uploaded to social media.
It shows Beckham practicing free-kicks at Old Trafford from various angles outside the box.
Not all of them find the back of the net during the training drill, but he nails one at the end of the clip from an almost identical position to where he took his famous free-kick against Greece.
Check out the brilliant video here:
If this doesn’t prove that practice makes perfect, we’re not sure what does.
You don’t become as good as Beckham at free-kicks or Lionel Messi at dribbling or Cristiano Ronaldo at finishing without constant practice over many years.
It’s just that we often only see the end product of all that hard work and dedication.
All of those hours – hundreds or perhaps even thousands – that Beckham spent honing his skills from a young age ultimately led to him cementing his status as arguably the best free-kick taker in football history.
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