Alan Shearer on beating Scotland at Euro 96
Coral football ambassador Alan Shearer looks back on England beating Scotland at Euro 96 in his latest exclusive blog.
“I still remember the game in 1996 like it was yesterday”
From a player’s point of view, this is a great game to play in. There’s a huge deal of rivalry between these two nations on and off the pitch, the atmosphere is always great and you also get away with a little bit more than you would in any other game.
I played against Scotland three times in my England career. The first occasion was at Euro 96 where we won 2-0 in the group stage at Wembley. We also drew them in the play-offs for Euro 2000. We won the first leg 2-0 at Hamden Park and then lost 1-0 at Wembley but obviously still went through on aggregate.
I still remember the game in 1996 like it was yesterday, from leaving the hotel to reaching the stadium. We got off to a poor start in the tournament, drawing 1-1 against Switzerland. It added a lot more pressure to the game against Scotland, we simply had to win.
I know we won 2-0 in the end but it does not tell the full story. I put us 1-0 up with a header from a great delivery from Gary Neville. Gary McAllister then missed a penalty for them. If that had gone in, who knows what the final score would have been.
“Gazza’s goal will never be forgotten”
They certainly would have been confident of getting something from the game but we then went down the other end and scored with an incredible bit of skill from Gazza, a goal which will never be forgotten. That put the game to bed and we took all three points.
The Scotland win gave our squad a great deal of confidence as we ended up beating the Netherlands 4-1 in our next game in arguably the finest England performance I have ever been a part of. It was a double whammy for Scotland as Kluviert’s consolation goal ended up putting the Dutch through and Scotland missed out on a place in the quarter-finals.
When you come off the field after playing Scotland, you always know you have been in the game. The referee will let a few challenges go for both sides because it is a big derby.
As an England player you always want to be a part of these sorts of games. The same can be said for when England are playing Germany and Argentina. They always mean that little bit more for the fans and you feel that as a player when you walk onto the pitch.
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