On this day in 2002: David Seaman error proves costly for England at World Cup

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Brazil beat England 2-1 in Shizuoka to progress to the World Cup semi-finals on this day in 2002.

David Seaman misjudged a 30-yard free-kick from which Ronaldinho scored Brazil’s 50th-minute winner after Rivaldo cancelled out Michael Owen’s early opener.

After the game England boss Sven Goran Eriksson insisted that Seaman should not be made the scapegoat in the same way that David Beckham unfairly took the blame four years earlier.

England v Brazil
Disconsolate England were knocked out at the quarter-final stage (Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA)

“That would be very wrong. Absolutely not,” said Eriksson. “If you should kill mentally every player who makes a mistake, you wouldn’t have many players in the squad for the next time.

“I mean, it was a lucky goal for Ronaldinho. Whatever he says, I’m sure he wanted to cross the ball.”

Owen had grabbed his second of the tournament to put England in front on 23 minutes after a double defensive blunder by the Brazilian rearguard.

England v Brazil – Seaman & Eriksson
David Seaman was beaten by Ronaldinho’s 30-yard free-kick (Rui Vieira/PA)

But Brazil were level on the stroke of half-time when Ronaldinho swept forward and found Rivaldo on the right who stroked a first-time shot into the corner.

The game’s crucial moment came early in the second half when Ronaldinho lined up a free-kick in an innocuous position, with Seaman pulling away from his line expecting a cross.

The Brazilian spotted the opening and from 35 yards floated the ball into the top corner with the aid of the crossbar.

England v Brazil
Rio Ferdinand insisted Ronaldinho’s winner was a fluke (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Defender Rio Ferdinand insisted: “It was a freak goal. I think he meant to cross it.

“I was in the drug testing area with him after the game and I asked him whether he meant it and he just started laughing. It wasn’t the best way to go out but I don’t think there is a good way.”

Brazil were reduced to 10 men for the final 32 minutes as Ronaldinho was then harshly sent off for a studs-first tackle on Danny Mills.