Get your cargo pants on and crack open the Asahis – this weekend we’re heading to the home of bullet trains as we go back to the summer of 2002.
With South Korea and Japan hosting Asia’s first World Cup, the time difference saw UK schools and businesses start late or set up communal screens to watch matches before work.
Alcopop sales soared, The Bourne Identity was big at the box office and Liberty X topped the charts – but more importantly Ferdinand, Beckham, Owen and co were taking on the world’s best.
To take you right back there, we’ll show you the Three Lions’ Group F match against Argentina from 15:00 BST on Sunday, 3 May.
You’ll be able to watch on the BBC Sport website, Red Button and iPlayer and follow live text commentary from 14:45 BST on the BBC Sport website and app.
Here’s why you should watch.
Vilified by the media and fans alike after being sent off in England’s World Cup defeat by Argentina at France ’98, this was a shot at redemption for captain David Beckham.
The saviour in qualifying – with a superb last-gasp free-kick against Greece – Beckham’s participation at the tournament had been uncertain after he broke a bone in his left foot playing for Manchester United against Deportivo La Coruna in the Champions League.
But just over seven weeks later, he lined up for England’s opener against Sweden and demonstrated his prowess from dead-ball situations by setting up Sol Campbell’s goal in the 1-1 draw.
One of the nation’s true world-class players at the time, Beckham’s importance could not be overstated.
And his big moment came five days later in Sapporo in possibly England’s best performance en route to the quarter finals.
Fittingly Beckham capped a fine display by rifling in the winning goal from a penalty to get one over on his nemesis of four years earlier, Diego Simeone.
As the BBC’s commentator John Motson said at the time: “Hold the cups and the glasses back home… you can smash them now! Beckham has scored for England. He has done it again.”
Negotiating the ‘group of death’
The mood of optimism surrounding Sven-Goran Eriksson’s first year in charge took a heavy jolt when England’s Group F opponents were drawn.
Dubbed the “group of death”, England’s opponents included the bookmakers’ favourites Argentina, an enigmatic Nigeria side containing Jay-Jay Okocha and a strong Sweden team that used Zlatan Ibrahimovic as a substitute.
Marcelo Bielsa’s Argentina squad was packed with world-class performers – with Walter Samuel, Javier Zanetti, Juan Sebastian Veron, Ariel Ortega, Gabriel Batistuta and Hernan Crespo all featuring against England.
However, Eriksson got his tactics right at the Sapporo Dome as England proved worthy winners.
They moved to second in the group with their first finals win over Argentina since 1966 and it was a result that avenged painful defeats at Mexico ’86 and France ’98.
Pochettino before the Premier League
Long before displaying his charm and qualities as a Premier League manager, Mauricio Pochettino was very much your archetypal Argentine defender.
Rugged and uncompromising on the pitch he also sported long flowing locks in those days.
However, while he clearly mastered the ‘what, me ref?’ look while wagging his fingers in protest, it was not enough to prevent his foul on Michael Owen from being punished with the penalty, from which Beckham scored.
Collina’s star quality
If Pochettino could appear menacing with his distinctive look, one man stood apart in that respect – referee Pierluigi Collina.
The Italian official’s penetrating stare and tall frame ensured he was not a man to be messed with.
But he was equally good at conversing with players in multiple languages, helping to earn the respect in which he was held.
And this was yet another occasion when he delivered a masterclass in officiating in his own unique way.
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