David Beckham: When England legend deceived Austria with the cleverest indirect free-kick

David Beckham mugged off Austria from an indirect free-kick in 2004

When you think of the best free-kick takers in football history, one of the first names that springs to mind is David Beckham.

The Englishman was an absolute wizard from dead ball situations.

Beckham still owns the record for most free-kicks scored in Premier League history, having found the back of the net 18 times.

He also provided many assists from set-pieces throughout his career.

One of his cleverest assists from a free-kick came in action for England back 17 years ago.

On September 4, 2004, the Three Lions travelled to Austria for their World Cup qualifier.



The first goal of the game – scored by Frank Lampard in the 23rd minute – came in bizarre circumstances.

A mix-up at the back saw Alexander Manninger, Austria’s goalkeeper, handle the ball inside the box and England given an indirect free-kick just eight yards out.

Indirect free-kicks are very uncommon.

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Austria put all 11 men on the line with the belief that Alan Smith would tap the ball and Beckham would shoot.

Smith did indeed tap the ball to Beckham, who shaped to shoot.

But the free-kick GOAT had other ideas as he picked out an unmarked Frank Lampard at the back-post to tap into an empty net.

Watch the moment below… (at 0:25)


Brilliant thinking from Beckham.

The Austria side were clearly so terrified by Beckham’s pin-point accuracy and did everything they could to stop him finding the back of the net.

But they completely forgot to pick up Lampard at the back post and Beckham punished them emphatically.

Surely it’s one of the cleverest indirect free-kick in the sport’s history.

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