Friday, March 26, 2010

26 March 2008 - England's Newest Centurion

On 26 March 2008, 32-year old David Beckham reached his 100th cap when he started for England in a friendly against France.

It was milestone that Beckham looked unlikely to reach after England's elimination from the 2006 World Cup. Following their loss to Portugal in quarterfinals, Beckham's 94th international appearance, he resigned as England's captain. Although he expressed a desire to continue with the side in a subservient role, he was dropped altogether by new England boss Steve McClaren. A poor run of form changed McClaren's mind and he recalled Beckham to the national squad in May 2007.

Beckham performed well, but it was not enough to save McClaren's job - he was soon sacked in favor of Beckham's former Real Madrid boss, Fabio Capello. With Beckham sitting on 99 caps, he was not included in Capello's first match in charge, a friendly against Switzerland on 6 February 2008. The decision created speculation that Capello's English side had no place for Beckham, but Beckham was included for Capello's second match in charge - the friendly against France.

The match itself had mixed results for England. France controlled the pace and flow, creating far more scoring chances than the visitors. To their credit, though, the English defense was stout, repeatedly denying the French attack. The match's only goal came from the spot, as Nicolas Anelka drew a foul from his Chelsea teammate John Terry. Franck Ribéry buried the ensuing kick in the 32nd minute.

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