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On this day in 2004: David Beckham’s missed penalty costs England against France

David Beckham missed a penalty as England lost to France (Owen Humphreys/PA)
David Beckham missed a penalty as England lost to France (Owen Humphreys/PA)

David Beckham’s missed penalty cost England as they were dramatically ambushed in their European Championships opener on this day in 2004.

Zinedine Zidane grabbed a brace in injury time to cancel out Frank Lampard’s first-half opener and give France an astonishing come-from-behind victory.

Zidane equalised with a superb long-range free-kick and then moments later blasted away the match-winning penalty after David James up-ended Thierry Henry in the box following Steven Gerrard’s miscued backpass.

Zinedine Zidane
Zinedine Zidane scores an injury-time free-kick for France against England (Owen Humphreys/PA)

It was an amazing end to a match which England seemed to have in the bag after Lampard headed home Beckham’s 38th-minute cross.

Wayne Rooney, then just 18, starred for the Three Lions as he proved a handful for the French defence.

An impressive England got their reward seven minutes before the interval after Beckham was fouled by Bixente Lizarazu on the right and whipped in the free-kick for Lampard to put them ahead.

France stretched England at the start of the second period and, as tensions increased, tempers began to fray, with Paul Scholes entering the referee’s notebook and Rooney lucky to avoid joining him.

Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney, who starred for England, won a second-half penalty (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Rooney almost sealed it for Sven-Goran Eriksson’s side when he was fouled in the penalty box by Mikael Silvestre following a superb run from the then-teenager.

However, Beckham’s well-placed penalty was brilliantly saved by Fabien Barthez to his right and England were ambushed in the final seconds as the brilliant Zidane grabbed an extraordinary victory.

England recovered from the defeat in Lisbon to beat Switzerland and Croatia to advance to the knockout stages only to lose on penalties to hosts Portugal in the quarter-finals.