Monday, October 14, 2013
14 October 2009 - Beckham Takes His Bow
The occasion was England's last qualifying match for the 2010 World Cup, hosting Belarus at Wembley. They had already secured their place in the tournament with a record of eight wins and one loss, so their final game gave manager Fabio Capello the opportunity to experiment with some players who had seen little time up to that point, as well as one who had seen more time that any other outfield player in the team's history.
Beckham earned his first cap for England in September 1996 and went on to captain the team for several years. By the time Belarus came to London, he had made a total of 114 appearances, second only to goalkeeper Peter Shilton's 125.
Against Belarus, Capello extended Beckham's total by bringing him on in the 58th minute. England were already up 1-0, but a Beckham quickly helped extend the lead with an assist from a corner kick in the 59th minute. A 76th-minute goal from Peter Crouch set the final margin at 3-0.
In addition to extending his total appearances record for an outfield player, the game also set the current records for most appearances in a competitive match (68) and most appearances for a player outside the English league system (55).