The more we think about it, the more it seems to us that the only person who comes out of the whole Croatia non-qualification nightmare is our Becks.
When he came on, England played better. He set up the second goal with a trademark pinpoint cross. For all the question marks about his fitness, he ran up and down the whole second half like a man possessed, making several crucial tackles in defence. He might have done more, but no one thought to pass to him.
In short, he played for the shirt. He was about the only one.
Russell Brand, in his football column in the Guardian, had it spot on: “In the second half David Beckham, dear derided, adored David Beckham offered hope, he knew it was him alone who could offer it. Eighty thousand people scanned the pitch searching for something to be optimistic about and it wasn't til his arrival that that need found a destination. It was for him alone that I remained to applaud as he left the field, dignified still, saluting the crowd...”
England let Beckham down. Let’s hope he’ll still be around as a super-sub for the 2010 World Cup qualifiers. Beckham’s life has always been a Boy’s Own story: how about a final appearance in which he scores a spectacular 92nd-minute free kick to secure our last-gasp qualification against, who else, Croatia?
(Image: from YouTube)