Michael Owen recently discussed the aftermath of England’s 1998 World Cup elimination, where his goal against Argentina was overshadowed by David Beckham’s red card, reflecting on how he felt at the time.
Owen, along with Beckham, was part of England’s squad in France, and both players were making their debut in a major tournament. Beckham had previously scored a crucial goal against Colombia that helped England advance to the round of 16.
In that match, Owen scored an extraordinary solo goal, giving England the lead against Argentina. However, the game took a different turn when Beckham received a straight red card for a clash with Diego Simeone, leading to Argentina’s eventual victory on penalties.
In Owen’s autobiography published in 2019, he shared his perspective on the consequences of that infamous red card. He mentioned that despite their good personal relationship, the immediate feeling in the dressing room was that there was nothing to be said about Beckham’s red card, as the damage was already done.
Owen admired Beckham’s dedication and talent, but the incident took a toll on their respective careers. Owen became a beloved figure in English football, while Beckham was viewed as the villain.
Owen also recounted later discovering that Beckham’s wife, Victoria, was “disappointed” in him for not publicly supporting the Manchester United star. However, Owen emphasized that, at the time, he was a junior member of the squad and didn’t have the standing to make a significant difference.
Beckham and Owen would go on to become teammates at Real Madrid and continued to represent England together. Beckham, in particular, remained haunted by the Argentina game, as he revealed in a new Netflix documentary titled “Beckham,” where he expressed deep regret for his actions.
Now, at 48 years old, Beckham candidly shared that he still struggles with the events from that time, acknowledging the gravity of his mistake and the extreme public scrutiny he faced. He described how he couldn’t forgive himself and that the incident had a profound impact on his life and mental well-being.
“I don’t think I have ever talked about it just because I can’t. I find it hard to talk through what I went through because it was so extreme,” Beckham said. “The whole country hated me. Hated me. I wasn’t eating. I wasn’t sleeping. I was a mess. I didn’t know what to do. It brought a lot of attention that I would never wish on anyone, let alone my parents.”
Beckham’s emotional response underscored the lasting impact of his actions during that fateful World Cup match.