Often, from adversity, the strongest things emerge, and certainly a case could be made that David Beckham wouldn't have become the player he was without the widespread enmity he endured after the 1998 World Cup.
The Manchester United man's burgeoning reputation -- he'd already struck a superb free-kick in the group-stage victory over Colombia -- was smashed after he was shown a red card during England's dramatic 2-2 draw with archrivals Argentina.
The Three Lions had fallen behind early, but then found themselves in the ascendency after an Alan Shearer penalty and Michael Owen's wondergoal had given them a 2-1 advantage.
Javier Zanetti's equaliser before half-time had been a setback, but England were still looking bright and in control after the two teams emerged following the break.
However, their campaign was to unravel moments later when Beckham was charged down by Diego Simeone, with the Argentinian midfielder using excessive force to 'leave one on' the England man.
Laying prone on the turf after the incident, Beckham -- reacting petulantly to the challenge -- flicked his leg out at Simeone, prompting a dramatic tumble from the South American.
That the misdemeanour occurred right under the nose of the referee didn't help Beckham's cause, and after Simeone was shown a yellow, England's talisman was dismissed after referee Kim Milton Nielsen brandished a straight red.
The loss of Beckham was a significant blow for the English, for whom he'd been linking up effectively with the lively Owen.
They were ultimately eliminated on penalties after David Batty's miss in the shootout, during yet another heart-breaking tournament showing for the Three Lions.
In the aftermath of the tournament, the English media sought a scapegoat, and Beckham -- the erstwhile darling of the supporters -- was an easy target.
He emerged from several years of tabloid abuse and barracking from the terraces to inspire England to the 2002 World Cup, notably netting a wondergoal against Greece to see the Three Lions to Japan and South Korea.
At the tournament itself, he scored the only goal of the game -- an emphatic penalty -- to down a talented Argentina side in the group stage.
It represented a measure of revenge for Becks, and a new England hero was reborn!
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