The summer of 1996 was a pretty glorious one. The weather was fine and it was the last year of a ruinous Tory government that was on its last legs. The Cold War was over and there was a growing confidence in the country as the new millennium approached. To top it all off the European International Championships was coming to England for the first time. English Football 6 years before had been on a high with a semi-final place at the 1990 World cup but a terrible Euro 92 and then failure to qualify for the World cup in 1994 had seen the team and belief in it sink to a new low. However, with the new stars from 1990 now established a second wave that would be termed “the golden generation” were ready to assert themselves and in Terry Veneables they had a manager who had proved himself on the continent managing Barcelona. The kit also had a grey top, to go well with jeans. There are loads of Discount Football Kits at sites like https://www.kitking.co.uk/ to choose from if you are in the market for some new training kit.
Off the pitch there was trouble. A late night drinking party with Paul “Gazza” Gascoigne (an incredibly talented but deeply troubled player) and Teddy Sheringham (part of the strike force with Alan Shearer) Darren Anderton (an excellent left winger) and Steve Mcmanaman (right wing) overly enjoying themselves after a team building trip to Hong Kong. The player were criticised as being uncaring and having no decency for basically acting like young men in their twenties on a night off.
Come the tournament there was little hope. The Dutch were in England’s 1st round group and they had put them out of the 94 World cup qualifying. A nervy start against Switzerland confirmed fears unit the introduction of Jamie Redknapp a “spice boy” and a new talent. The game ended 1 all. Next was the Auld enemy Scotland. This saw a brilliant individual goal from Gazza who then celebrated as if he was back in the dentist chair in Hong Kong. Point proven. The best was still to come, a draw would have been enough but England destroyed the Netherlands 4-1 playing some of the best football that has ever graced the national side.
Another nervy encounter, this time against Spain resulted in penalties. The site of a redemptive Stuart Pearce scoring his will live long in the memory. It was then the semis and Germany. One game away from recreating the success of 1966. It started well with a Shearer header but the Germans equalised within minutes. The game flowed and reached deadlock. Extra time back then featured the “Golden goal”, the first team to score winners. Stefan Kuntz goal looked good but was disallowed for pushing. Anderton hit the post and Gazza came within the polish of his boot to scoring the winner at the death. How different his life might have been if that had gone in.
Penalties were required with the both teams scoring all 5 until the current England manager Gareth Southgate bravely stepped up and had is goal saved. Moller scored and the dream was over.