On This Day in 2002: England captain David Beckham breaks his metatarsal bone

This was the day in 2002 that much of the nation came to learn the meaning of the world metatarsal.

When England captain David Beckham broke a bone in his foot during Manchester United’s Champions League match against Deportivo La Coruna, it sparked fears he would not be fit for the World Cup.

The injury was back page news for several days as his recovery was tracked every step of the way.

And the tackle which caused it – from Argentina’s Aldo Duscher – became the source of debate given England were due to face Argentina in Japan, with some claiming it had been deliberate.

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The injury ended Beckham’s season with United – his best as a goalscorer as he netted 16 times before being hurt – as they missed out on the Premier League title to Arsenal and were knocked out of the Champions League by Bayer Leverkusen in the semi-finals.

However, he signed a new three-year contract in May, and did return in time to lead out his country against Sweden for the opening game of the World Cup in Saitama on June 2.

And a few days later he scored the only goal as England beat Argentina 1-0, redemption after his red card against the same opponents in 1998.

England generated realistic hopes of lifting the trophy, taking the lead against Brazil in the quarter-finals, but just before half-time Beckham pulled out of a challenge on Rivaldo, allowing him to advance and score an equaliser.

Ronaldinho’s second-half free-kick ensured that Brazil, who went on to win the tournament, won 2-1.

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