Owen still resents ‘childish’ Beckham over red at 1998 World Cup

Date published: Wednesday 4th September 2019 10:23

David Beckham Diego Simeone England Argentina 1998 World Cup

Michael Owen says he still holds “some resentment” over David Beckham’s sending off against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup.

Beckham was sent off 47 minutes in for kicking out at Diego Simeone and England held on for a 2-2 draw before losing the Round of 16 match on penalties.

And in his new book, Michael Owen: Reboot – My Life, My Time, Owen has revealed how he still holds “some resentment” towards Beckham over the incident.

“First of all, let me pre-empt what follows by saying that what David did probably wasn’t a red card offence in the first place,” Owen wrote, serialised by the Daily Mirror.

“While it was clearly pre-meditated, it was immature and petulant more than it was violent. But for me, that almost makes it worse. Had he stood up and just punched someone in the face, somehow the disappointment would have been easier to take.

“But because his flick-out was so childish, it also seemed so much more unnecessary. People will say it was just a mistake, but my feeling is that, if you want to win World Cups, you can’t afford to make mistakes. This is a tough world we’re living in. You’ve got to be bob-on with everything you do because the margins are tiny.

“Would we have beaten Argentina with 11 men? We’ll never know – but we were playing well enough with 10 at the time. Would we have gone on to beat Holland and then Brazil and so on? We’ll never know that either.

“All I can say is that, as I sit here now writing this book, knowing how lucky a player is to appear in one World Cup, never mind more than one, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that what David did that day hadn’t let every single one of that England team down.

“Did he deserve the abuse he got from the press afterwards? Certainly not. What human being needs to see his or her effigy being burned? But David let us down, and I still hold some resentment about it today.”


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