Why David Beckham was left RAGING during Socceroos match

Graham Arnold reveals David Beckham’s FURIOUS half time reaction when Australia stunned England in 2003… with Socceroos preparing to spring another surprise on the Three Lions at Wembley

  • Graham Arnold has reflected on Australia’s win over England in 2003 
  • The Socceroos were incensed by comments made by Sven-Goran Eriksson 
  • David Beckham was furious at half time when down by two goals 

Graham Arnold has opened up on the insult that spurred the Socceroos onto a shock victory over England that left David Beckham fuming.

Australia return to London for the first time since stunning Sven-Goran Eriksson’s Three Lions, with the underdogs running out 3-1 winners at Upton Park.

Arnold was assistant coach at the time and revealed how pre-match comments made by Eriksson enraged the visitors in east London.   

‘I remember reading the newspaper the day before, where Sven came out and said ‘I’m going to change the whole team at half-time’,’ Arnold told The Times. 

‘That p***ed our players off. “Who the hell does he think he is? Does he think we’re s***?” We grew the narrative as coaches, “look, they have no respect for us.” The Aussie mentality kicked in. 

Graham Arnold has reflected on Australia’s stunning victory over England

The Socceroos shocked the Three LIons at Upton Park in 2003, winning 3-1

‘We had some top players. Our Golden Generation. You look back at that generation, you didn’t have to motivate them too much. Harry [Kewell] was quiet but he had this incredibly strong mentality. There was no way we were going to lose that game, especially the mentality of Viduka and these guys.’

The Aussies went 2-0 up in the first half thanks to a Tony Popovic header and a strike from Harry Kewell, and Arnold recalls how a livid Beckham demanded to stay on the pitch. 

‘We walked up the tunnel and all you could hear was [Beckham] going to Sven, “we’re not f***ing coming off. We can’t be down to 2-0 at half-time and come off.” Sven still changed the whole team.’ 

The Aussies, meanwhile, had their own plan to stay ahead. ‘Kevin Muscat came on to make sure things didn’t calm down!’

Arnold cemented himself as a national hero during Australia’s miracle World Cup campaign in Qatar last year, where he took the Socceroos to the last-16. Respected French sports publication L’Equipe named him the coach of the tournament.

Arnold’s coaching journey has been a whirlwind but he says the memory of his mother and father inspires him to keep going.  

‘I’m always looking at the stars in the National Anthem because my mum [Faye] and dad [Barry] died when I was young. I know they’re up there watching and helping me. I know they’re still proud of me,’ he said.

Arnold said the team were incensed by comments made by Sven-Goran Eriksson

A furious David Beckham refused to come off at half time but eventually relented

‘My mum died when I was 20. Breast cancer. She was ill from when I was 16, and I went off the rails, I just partied, alcohol, gave up playing football for a year. She fought cancer in Calvary [health care centre] for a year. 

‘After being unconscious for a month, two days before she died she opened her eyes, grabbed my hand and went ‘Graham, you have a talent in life, you have something special, don’t waste it with your party mates. Don’t be a bum like them.’ I’ll never forget. She was ‘preserving’ all her energy to say that to me. It still inspires me today. 

‘I walked out of that hospital, pretty much gave up working as a builder, and went professional. A year-and-a-half later I played for Australia.’

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