Football’s Most Incredible Moments: Top 10

Football’s Most Incredible Moments: Top 10

2. Euro 96.

This tournament is fondly remembered by any English football fan that was old enough to experience it, and the subsequent run to the semi-finals produced many magical moments that still resonate with supporters to this day.

Staged on home soil, this tournament was the first hosted here for thirty years and with that came a special atmosphere at every England match, as an expectant fan base whipped up a cauldron of support under the twin towers at Wembley, hoping that our time in the international honour’s wilderness would come to an end.

With a starting eleven that displayed little weakness, we would come excruciatingly close to fulfilling those lofty dreams as England gained vast momentum the deeper we found ourselves in the tournament.

After an underwhelming opening 1-1 draw with Switzerland, Paul Gascoigne would dispose of Scotland in the group stages with a goal created through outright genius, whilst in the very next match the lethal strike pairing of Shearer and Sheringham would batter the highly fancied Dutch 4-1.

The country were on the crest of a wave as we marched into the last sixteen, paired with a strong Spanish team, the game ended in stalemate, it was time for penalties.

With previous failure fresh in the memory this England side erased their fears by staring them squaring in the face. Stuart Pearce would step forward to exorcise his demons after missing at Italia 90, it was a astonishing display of guts and bravery, and he duly rammed home his penalty much to his and the country’s huge delight.

England would dispatch Spain and head on to the semi-finals after David Seaman would finish off the team’s fine work, saving the final Spanish penalty.

A titanic clash with Germany would now decide the fate of both country’s championship aspirations, and although the semi-final would ultimately see England come up short on penalties once again, it was a performance that would deem it the cruelest of exits.

A tense 1-1 draw sent the tie into golden goal and would see both Paul Gascoigne and Darren Anderton come within mere centimeters of sending England to their first major final since 1966.

Gareth Southgate would soon be the unfortunate soul that would miss the vital penalty in the shoot out, breaking the hearts of a newly unified nation after such an enthralling ride to the very edge of glory.

Despite the teams eventual failure, we had emerged from the tournament as a proud nation that had been enriched by many new cherished memories, and apart from the final outcome this tournament simply had it all.

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