When Shilton reached 109 England caps he was presented with a special shirt bearing the number and his name on the back. As Saturday approached, and David Beckham inevitably collected his latest record-breaking cap, England unveiled their new shirts too.
Not especially for Goldenballs himself, but for the whole team. I am not entirely sure why, when playing at home, the three lions wore all white (donâ€™t we usually have blue shorts, or did I miss something?). But I am certain that Beckhamâ€™s forty-five minutes proved that we still need him as a player.
His assist for Rooneyâ€™s first goal showed enduring class and for all the whooping and cheering that accompanies Gerrard and Rooney nowadays it is still Beckhamâ€™s metronomic presence that keeps the team ticking over.
Some people donâ€™t like Beckham, a lot of them even hate him. It is unlikely that any of those people are esteemed members of their local Mensa councils but he has certainly been our most important player for a while now, like it or not.
Cruyff had a totemic presence for Holland during the seventies and in the 1974 World Cup he was even granted special permission to wear his own jersey featuring an extra stripe. Beckham is famously branded right up the coca-colas but he has not been indulged in any such grand fashion. He merely shows up, takes the shirt number he is given and is happy to play.
England have built our hopes up and then dashed them so many times in the past that right now I am willing to take any omen I can get. Holland lost the final in 1974 as their team fractured towards the end of the tournament. Looking ahead to 2010 one wonders if this new kit could prove lucky for us. Every time England have been knocked out of a major tournament in the last decade we have been wearing white shirts and blue shorts. Perhaps this new all white kit is the way to go.
Or, there is always the chance we will make it to the quarter-finals, lose on penalties, have a couple of players sent off and then watch in horror as the fans trash whichever poor city is unfortunate enough to have hosted the game. On second thoughts, that does seem more likely. At least, for a change, we can do all that in a snazzy new kit. Either that, or lets give Beckham an extra stripe.