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Fans remember England vs Scotland from Euro 96

One of the most iconic football tournaments of all time for British football fans is Euro 96. It was the year that ‘football came home' with the tournament being hosted in England – the first international tournament to be held in the home of football since 1966. 

Another factor that made the tournament so memorable was that England and Scotland were drawn into the same group. It was the first time that the two nations had met in either the World Cup or European Championships which added further significance to the match.

England vs Scotland from Euro 1996
England fans regard the match against Scotland at Euro 96 as one of the great days in English football history – Photo by Icon Sport

England vs Scotland from Euro 96: The build-up

The build-up to the Group A fixture between England and Scotland at Euro 96 went on for months, not least because there were rumours before the Euro 96 draw that UEFA were going to deliberately keep England and Scotland apart. 

As soon as both nations were drawn into the same group, the build-up began and tickets for the fixture at Wembley Stadium sold out quicker than any other match. 

In the immediate build-up, the match became more significant when both nations drew their opening group games. England endured a frustrating 1-1 draw with Switzerland while Scotland played out a bore 0-0 draw with the Netherlands.

It effectively made the match between Scotland and England a must-win for both sides. 

England vs Scotland Euro 96: The match

The first half was a nervy affair with England having the better of the chances. However, after the break, the match exploded thanks to an Alan Shearer header in the 53rd minute. 

The goal didn't dampen the Scottish spirit, however, and in the 77th minute they were awarded a penalty. Gary McAllister stepped up and after the ball inexplicably moved on his run-up, his effort was saved by David Seaman. 

Famous ‘psychic' Uri Geller took credit for the save at the time, claiming he was using a mind trick from a helicopter above to make the ball move. 

Just 90 seconds later, more magic happened, but this time it was undisputable. Paul Gascoigne scored one of the most iconic England goals of all time when he flicked the ball over Colin Henry's head before rifling the ball into the back of the net on the volley. 

Paul Gascoigne Euro 96
Paul Gascoigne scored one of England's best-ever goals against Scotland at Euro 96 – Photo by Icon Sport

What followed the iconic strike was an even more iconic celebration known as the ‘dentist chair' which poked fun at a story pre-tournament about a boozy night involving the England players. 

Both teams won their final games but it was only England who progressed to the knockout stages. They would go on to lose to Germany via a penalty shootout in the semi-finals. 

England vs Scotland from Euro 96: Fans remember

Due to how iconic the match was, it is one that has never been forgotten by Scotland and England fans. Frequently the match is revisited on social media and with Euro 2024 on the horizon, it is back to being of huge interest.

One England fan recently posted on social media about the Gascoigne goal: “My favourite goal ever! Everything was perfect. The flick over Hendry, the volley bottom corner and the celebration too.”

Another reminisced about the entire day. They said: “What a day that was, a big group of us from Ilkeston went to London and ended up watching the game in The Dublin Castle in Camden Town. It was chaos on the streets all day.”

A third added: “What a day that was, just being there was fantastic, but seeing that goal at the end we were in was priceless. But that goal papered over the fact that Scotland were very unlucky, better side on the day, but undone by a little bit of genius.”


Andy Delaney

Andy is a freelance sports writer with ten years of experience covering major sporting events across Europe. He has also been a season ticket holder at Old Trafford since 2008 and has visited over 40 football stadiums in the United Kingdom and abroad following the Reds.

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