As footballers gear up for this year’s European Championships in France, revisit England-hosted Euro ‘96
- Credit: PA
It may have ultimately ended in defeat to old rivals Germany but Euro ‘96 was far from being England’s worst footballing campaign.
Typically a semi-final knock-out by penalties ended the hosts’ hopes of just their second major international trophy, their vanquishers eventually winning the competition.
The 1996 Euros saw a number of firsts, including being the first competition decided by an extra-time golden goal and the first international trophy for Germany as a unified nation.
As optimism abounds ahead of the next edition of the tournament this summer we take a look back at a selection of pictures from the last major footballing tournament hosted in England.
The talismanic Paul Gascoigne played in all five of England’s games, scoring his penalty against Germany in the semi-final shoot-out.
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He had done the same against Spain in the quarter-finals, helping securing victory for England as the fourth penalty taker ahead of goalkeeper David Seaman’s save against Miguel Angel Nadal making the score 4-2.
The only time Gazza scored in open play in Euro ‘96 was during England’s hotly-contested British derby against Scotland in the group stage.
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Penalties were an important theme in England’s campaign, even when not in the knock-out phase.
Seaman was required between the sticks in the Scotland group game when Tony Adams brought down Gordon Durie in the box.
The Arsenal stopper, not yet sporting a ponytail, faced up to Gary McAllister and saved the spot-kick to preserve the lead, soon doubled by the unstoppable Gascoigne.
Seaman played in every minute of England’s Euro ‘96 campaign as the country’s undisputed number one in goal.
With two penalty saves, only three goals conceded and two clean sheets (excluding shoot-outs) Seaman was recognised at the end of the tournament for his performances.
He was named alongside teammates Alan Shearer and Steve McManaman in the UEFA Team of the Tournament while competition sponsors Philips picked him as Player of the Tournament.
The first game played after the opening ceremony saw hosts England take on Switzerland at Wembley as the latter debuted in the competition.
Despite the number of stadiums in London the national home of football was the only venue in the capital used for the Euros.
Seven other grounds in different cities hosted matches that summer – Old Trafford (Manchester), Anfield (Liverpool), Villa Park (Birmingham), Elland Road (Leeds), Hillsborough (Sheffield) the City Ground (Nottingham) and St James’ Park (Newcastle).
Away from the hustle and bustle of the league season managers of the domestic clubs were able to enjoy matches from the stands instead of the touchline.
Kevin Keegan and Sir Alex Ferguson had contested the Premier League title as managers of Newcastle United and Manchester United respectively. Both won Manager of the Month twice during the season with Ferguson winning Manager of the Year.
Despite his infamous “I would love it” comment on Sky Sports when the Scotsman’s mind games managed to get to him, Keegan was still able to enjoy a more light-hearted moment when the two met at the start of the European Championships.
Were you at the 1996 European Championships? If you’ve got any pictures of the tournament to share with us you can Tweet us @IpswichStar24 or @EADT24, post them on our Facebook pages or email them to us. We would love to see them!