The Real Madrid midfielder returned to the international stage with a dynamic display that justified his recall and raised further questions about Steve McClaren's original decision to drop him.
Seventy-seven minutes of energy, precise passing, un-English technique and deadly dead-balls saw the 32-year-old cheered lustily from the pitch when substituted.
Beckham had already departed from the Wembley stage after creating England's goal for his successor to the captain's armband, Chelsea centre-back Terry, when some slack marking allowed the highly-skilled visitors from Brazil to claim a deserved injury-time equaliser.
It would now be simply unthinkable for McClaren not to have Beckham in his starting line-up for Wednesday's must-win tussle in Tallinn against Estonia.
Beckham did not exactly overshadow the likes of Kaka and Ronaldinho yet he and Steven Gerrard were comfortably England's best players.
Not surprisingly perhaps, it was he and Michael Owen who received the biggest cheers when their names were read out, the only two players in the starting line-up who featured in England's last match at Wembley, that desperate 1-0 defeat by Germany which led to Kevin Keegan quitting.
For the first half, Brazil dominated the attacking play with England reliant mainly on familiar set-piece situations.
McClaren's defenders took time to settle and Kaka earned himself space with some neat footwork before he scuffed the finish. It was enough to get the England manager off his feet for some vigorous finger-jabbing though.
It was almost the old England one-two when Beckham spotted Owen's run and sprayed a tempting ball into his path that he only just failed to reach.
Beckham won a free-kick too far out but he gave it a go - it was blocked and Joe Cole was unable to make an impact with his follow-up shot.
Ledley King, who had a good return to the national side himself barring his doziness for Brazil's goal, stepped in to end a dynamic Ronaldinho run into the heart of England's defence.
Brazil skipper Gilberto Silva headed the ball into the England net only to see his goal ruled out - even though it appeared it was Vagner Love rather than the Arsenal midfielder who had strayed offside.
Gerrard, fresh from an almighty challenge on Kaka near the England 18-yard line, charged forward and won a free-kick on the edge of the 'D'.
The clock stood at 29mins 15secs and Beckham stepped up. A dip of the shoulder, the trademark curl and...just a whisker past the post. Certainly Helton in the Brazil goal thought it had gone in.
Brazil were not to be outdone and a bewitching spell of close inter-passing between Kaka and Ronaldinho so bewildered Jamie Carragher that the Liverpool defender ended up trying to grab the ball with his hand.
Ronaldinho left Gerrard sprawling on his backside with an ingenious flick between the Liverpool midfielder's legs and then Vagner Love who was tugged back by King on the edge of the box.
Beckham could not manage it, so could Ronaldinho from the same position? No, was the answer, and nowhere near as close as his rival in the Primera Liga.
Brazil continued to enjoy a good spell of play with Kaka surging past a challenge before firing wide from distance, then Ronaldinho tried to curl one in from the left but his accuracy was sorely lacking.
Paul Robinson had hardly been called upon but when he was, it was with some brilliance.
Ronaldinho first-time shot from Kaka's pass took a deflection off King and Robinson somehow managed to react quick enough to pull off a stupendous save.
As so often before, England's best source of goals appeared to be from a set-piece and with the hour approaching the old stagers nearly conjured the opener. Beckham's free-kick picked out Owen but the Newcastle striker's header dropped just onto the roof of the net.
Encouraged by that, England started to press further and further forward.
First Stewart Downing, just off the bench, hit a vicious dipping drive that Helton turned over at full stretch then Beckham set up Owen with a marvellous reverse pass but he could only nod the ball into the Brazil keeper's hands.
Finally, in the 68th minute, cometh the hour, cometh the men. Beckham, from out on the right, delivered a pinpoint free-kick to the far post allowing Terry to guide the ball past Helton with his head. It was the Chelsea defender's third goal for England.
Brazil so nearly equalised when Wes Brown, with his first touch after coming on for Terry, stumbled and allowed Afonso to sneak in but he could only steer the ball wide.
Afonso, a virtually unknown striker playing for Heerenveen in Holland, could again have pulled Brazil level but headed over from close range.
Finally, some hopeless marking did let Brazil in. Gilberto Silva lofted the ball into the box in injury wide and with King out of position Werder Bremen's Diego came surging in to head low past Robinson.
McClaren may have Beckham back for Tallinn but that will count for nothing if England defend like that.
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