15 years ago David Beckham hit this spectacular free kick to send England to the World Cup


One of David Beckham's most iconic moments in an England kit occurred exactly 15 years ago on Thursday, when a then-26-year-old Beckham lifted the Three Lions with a signature free kick.

Down 2-1 in the waning minutes of a 2002 World Cup qualifier against Greece, England needed a win or a draw against the Mediterranean country to seal advancement to the World Cup finals. Greece were holding firm at Old Trafford, and it looked like England's World Cup hopes had been dashed. Then a lifeline emerged.

Greece committed a a stoppage-time foul outside their own box, some 30 yards out. It was a glimmer of hope, at best, as second ticked off and England seemed destined for disappointment. But a buzz-cut donning Beckham stepped up to take the free kick and etches his name in the chronicles of English football.

The bend, the power, the dip. The audacity to hit it across the face of goal. He hit it so sweetly you'd think they would wind up making movies about his technique. The goal earned England a 2-2 draw with Greece and a spot in the World Cup finals in South Korea and Japan. That tournament might not have ended as the Three Lions envisioned — losing in the quarterfinals to Brazil — but it doesn't take away from the fact they wouldn't have even been there had it not been for Beckham's bit of brilliance 15 years ago.