Match of the Day Top 10 podcast: Euro 96 most memorable moments

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June 3, 2021
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    England's Euro 96 teamMore than one of these former England stars feature in our top 10 moments… but where do they rank?

    Pearce's penalty. Poborsky's lob. Southgate's miss. 25 years ago, England hosted one of the most unforgettable tournaments in history. But what were the most memorable moments of Euro 96?

    Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer and Micah Richards ranked the most iconic moments from the 1996 tournament in the latest Match of the Day: Top 10 podcast.

    To hear how they made their final selections, make sure you listen to the podcast on BBC Sounds.

    Karel Poborsky's lob (Richards: 9th, Shearer: 6th)

    Poborsky's lob lights up Euro 96

    Poborsky's audacious 15-yard lob sealed a 1-0 win for the Czech Republic in the quarter-finals against Portugal. The winger signed for Manchester United weeks later. The Czechs finished the tournament runners up, losing to Germany in the final.

    Shearer: I scored one very similar to that goal against Norwich for Blackburn at Ewood Park, where I was through on the goalkeeper – I don't even know why I tried it, it just sort of happened. It was a proper dink, you've got to get it high and be so accurate with it and Poborsky was. It's a very clever goal.

    Davor Suker's chip (Richards: 10th, Shearer: 5th)

    Davor Suker celebrates scoringDavor Suker celebrates with Zvonimir Boban after his classy chip against Denmark

    Suker finished off a Croatia counter attack with a brilliant chip over Peter Schmeichel at Hillsborough, as he inspired his side to a 3-0 win over defending champions Denmark in the group stage.

    Shearer: The touch to get in there, then past the goalkeeper – Schmeichel was running towards him, he was closing him down. So for him to get it up and down so quick, with the left foot, with the spin… I think it's just a great piece of skill, it's unbelievable. We talk about free-kicks or even the panenka – most people could do that. There's not many people could do these chips we're talking about with Poborsky and Suker – they're incredible.

    Oliver Bierhoff's golden goal (Richards: 5th, Shearer: 9th)

    Oliver Bierhoff celebrates scoringOliver Bierhoff celebrates after scoring the tournament-winning goal against the Czech Republic

    Bierhoff's 95th minute golden goal won the tournament for Germany, as they beat the Czech Republic 2-1 in the final. The golden goal rule was introduced in the early nineties to encourage more attacking play in extra time and to avoid penalty shootouts. It was scrapped in 2004.

    Lineker: I would go straight to penalties in all competitions.

    Shearer: Going to a penalty shootout is difficult, eh?

    That walk from the halfway line to the penalty spot is horrendous. Should I walk slow? Should I hold the ball or roll the ball? Then you've got 70 or 80 thousand people in the stadium, you've got 10 or 15 million people watching at home, but the worst part is you don't want to let the lads behind you down, your teammates.

    Gareth Southgate's penalty miss (Richards: 4th, Shearer: 10th)

    Southgate saw his sudden-death penalty saved by goalkeeper Andreas Kopke as England were knocked out by Germany in the semi-final at Wembley. The tie was level at 1-1 after extra time, before Germany won 6-5 on penalties with Andreas Moller capitalising on Southgate's miss to fire his side through.

    Shearer: He probably didn't think it would ever get to him taking one and he thought he'd better stick his hand up and be brave.

    I was sat down in the centre circle. When you're getting to the defenders, you're thinking 'Oh no.' I wasn't comfortable.

    It was just horrible because we thought and we believed that we were going to win that tournament. It was just that snowball effect where there was nothing that was going to stop us. We were absolutely devastated.

    Paul Gascoigne's semi-final near miss (Richards: 4th, Shearer: 8th)

    Paul Gascoigne lies on the floor after missing a chancePaul Gascoigne lies in the goalmouth after narrowly missing a match-winning opportunity against Germany in the semi-final

    Gascoigne was centimetres away from sending England to the final as his studs brushed a ball that had been sent across the six yard box by Shearer. With the golden goal rule in play in extra time against Germany, this would have been game over.

    Shearer: There was just that split second where he hesitated, which was just enough to have stopped him getting to it. I think a goal scorer doesn't hesitate and it's in.

    Even in lockdown, they had a re-run of Euro 96 and I'm watching it thinking 'Go on, get on the end of it!' He was a stud away.

    Ally McCoist's goal Vs Switzerland (Richards: 7th, Shearer: 7th)

    Ally McCoistAlly McCoist scored Scotland's only goal of the tournament in a 1-0 win against Switzerland

    McCoist's drilled effort into the top corner looked to have sent Scotland through to the knockout stages, but for a consolation Patrick Kluivert goal in the Netherland's 4-1 defeat to England. The Dutch went through on goals scored. For 40 minutes at Villa Park, McCoist's goal had Scotland heading for the knockouts.

    Richards: It was a great strike, I bet he thought he'd done enough to go through.

    You see him now as a pundit, I don't remember him as a player.

    Shearer: Are you that young? He would fight you for saying that, Ally!

    We were 4-0 up and then Holland went and scored. We didn't have a clue (that Scotland had been knocked out) until we got into the dressing room.

    Alan Shearer's goal Vs the Netherlands (Richards: 8th, Shearer: 4th)

    Shearer finished off an impressive team goal to send England through to the knockout stages. A string of passes from McManaman, Gascoigne and Sheringham set up Shearer for a trademark laces-through-the-ball finish that helped him on his way to the Golden Boot with five tournament goals.

    Lineker: We talked about this in our 'Greatest Goals' episode and discussed the fact that you sliced it…

    Shearer: Slice, shank, I caught it sweet as a nut. That is exactly how I wanted to catch it. The keeper was coming out, there was only one way that could go – one position. Great team goal, though.

    That Holland game that night was the best atmosphere I'd sampled as an England player. That was just unbelievable. Warm evening, Three Lions song playing.

    Stuart Pearce's penalty redemption (Richards: 2nd, Shearer: 3rd)

    Stuart Pearce celebrates scoringStuart Pearce celebrates after scoring his penalty in England's shootout victory over Spain, which was 0-0 after extra time.

    After missing the crucial penalty in a semi-final shootout against Germany in Italia 1990, the man nicknamed 'Psycho' stepped up for redemption six years later, this time in a quarter-final shootout against Spain. Pearce scored and England won 4-2 on penalties.

    Lineker: I've never been so nervous watching someone else take a penalty. I just thought 'Oh please don't let it happen again' because he was so upset in Italia 90 when he missed it, he was inconsolable. When he stepped forward, the whole of Wembley just gasped. 'It's Stuart Pearce, I can't believe he's taking it again!' I mean – the courage to do it.

    He was such a hard player – tough, powerful, aggressive. But when he missed, to see a man like that crying his eyes out because he'd missed a penalty… and then to go and put himself forward again!

    Shearer: In training, when the manager was looking around for penalty takers and Pearcey put his hand up, I'm thinking 'Don't. You can't put yourself forward.' But Pearcey being the way he was – if you wanted someone to back you up in a fight, Pearcey would be number one.

    Alan Shearer's drought-ending goal (Richards: 6th, Shearer: 1st)

    Alan ShearerAlan Shearer scores the opening goal of the tournament in a 1-1 draw against Switzerland

    After a two-year drought, Shearer finally scored an England goal in the opening match against Switzerland, running on to a Paul Ince through ball and firing into the roof of the net. The game finished 1-1 at Wembley.

    Shearer: It was just an unbelievable feeling. There was no chance (I was squaring it to Teddy Sheringham), that was my moment. That wasn't a shank or a slice, that was two years of frustration.

    I'd scored all season for Blackburn – but I just couldn't put it in the net for England. That's why it's my number one, the relief was massive. It's horrible when you're not scoring, it keeps you awake at night.

    Scotland's penalty miss and Paul Gascoigne's wonder goal (Richards: 1st, Shearer, 2nd)

    Paul Gascoigne's sublime Euro '96 goal against Scotland

    Two minutes separated Gary McAllister's penalty miss and Gascoigne's volley in England's 2-0 group stage win. Following David Seaman's save, Gascoigne skilfully lobbed Colin Hendry and volleyed past Andy Graham, then celebrated by mimicking the infamous dentist's chair drinking game that had been caught on camera in Hong Kong.

    Richards: Fantastic. It's the save first, it was like two for the price of one.

    Shearer: That was the three minutes that changed our belief to think 'We can go on and win this.' The penalty save from big Dave and then – two or three minutes later – Gazza's unbelievable goal. When you talk about Euro 96, I think that's the first thing that comes to people's minds – Gazza's goal. The audacity and the skill to do what he did.


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