As the song of the time said, ‘Football is coming home’ as the European Championships were held in England, only the second major tournament to be held in the country, the other being the 1966 World Cup.
Both times the England manger was a former Spurs player, first Alf Ramsey and then Terry Venables. The tenth running of the championship saw the number of teams increased at the finals to sixteen.
A record forty seven teams entered. This was because the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia had all broken up and now formed a total of eleven new countries.
It was this tournament that saw the best runners up also qualify and the other second places go into play offs for the finals. This qualifying competition also saw three points awarded for a win for the first time.
This competition would also see far less links to the Home nations and more mainland Europe connections appearing. The qualifying competition saw Rumania and Israel drawn together. Ilie Dumitrescu represented Rumania nine times, one as a sub, in their ten games as they topped the group, picking up one goal V Azerbaijan. His team mate Gica Popescu picked up five of his six caps as a Spurs player in the qualifiers and one goal V Slovakia. Israel’s Ronnie Rosenthal made nine appearances with goals against Azerbaijan, Romania and Poland but they finished 5th out of six teams.
Erik Thorstvedt made five appearances for Norway as they failed to reach the finals. Future Spur Oyvind Leonhardsen was also in their squad and scored two goals. Jurgen Klinnsmann (top) played six games as a Spurs player for Germany and netted six goals in that time as they topped their group.
left - Terry Venables.
Jurgen scored nine goals in total in qualifying. Bayern Munich’s Christian Zeige was in the squad and the left back also scored once in qualifying.
Scotland also qualified by finishing second behind Russia in their group. Colin Calderwood made six appearances in qualifying and scored v San Marino. The two Irish sides were drawn together although only the North had a Spurs connection in Gerald McMahon who played one game for the Irish and scored V Liechtenstein. Gerald would win seven caps at Spurs and score twice. He was with Spurs from 1992-97 and made twenty appearances but didn’t score.
Gudni Bergsson (right) was ever present and captained Iceland in the qualifying competition as they finished bottom of their group, scoring a goal V Hungary in their own victory in the group.
The England squad in the finals included Teddy Sheringham, Darren Anderton, Sol Campbell and Ian Walker from Tottenham.
As well as former Spurs players Paul Gascoigne now at Rangers and Nick Barmby at Middlebourgh. It also had future Spurs men Les Ferdinand and Jamie Redknapp.
The Scots had Calderwood and former Spur Gordon Durie.
The finals saw England and Scotland drawn together in group A. England opened with a 1-1 draw with Switzerland. Sheringham (withdrawn) and Anderton played this game. The Scots started with a draw V Holland. The two teams clashed in the second match, a game England won 2-0. Shearer with the first then a true gem from Rangers Gascoigne. In one flowing movement he juggled the ball then looped it over the defender at full pace, sped to the edge of the box and planted the ball in the goal. Many thought we had seen the best of him before he was injured at Tottenham five year earlier but this was pure Gazza magic. Only moments earlier Scotland had had a penalty saved that would have pulled them level.
Now England needed just a point from the last game to go forward. Campbell joined his team mates for the last five minutes. Scotland beat Switzerland but finished third.
Colin Calderwood (left) appearing in all three games.
England again started with Sheringham and Anderton. In a good team performance England were one up when Sheringham scored twice early in the second half. England got a fourth and Holland scored very late on, 4-1.
The Swiss included in their squad Ramon Vega of Grasshoppers would join Tottenham later.
The Rumanians finished bottom of group B with Popescu, now at Barcelona. Group C saw Germany top. They had Klinsmann as captain, Zeige as well as Stefan Freund then at Borussia Dortmund..
The quarter finals saw Germany beat Croatia and England defeated Spain in a penalty shootout. This ended 4-2. Paul Gascoigne scoring the fourth kick to ensure they progressed, Sheringham had been taken off in the 105th minute). These two teams then met in the semi final and after a 1-1 draw the Germans won the shootout 6-5, Teddy Sheringham and Paul Gascoigne both scoring with their kicks.
This was the end of the road for Venables, having been unable to agree a new contract with the FA he stepped down and would be replaced by Glenn Hoddle.
England did win the Fair Play award and Gascoigne, right scoring the wonder goal, was voted into the team of the tournament.
In the final German won the trophy beating the Czech Republic in extra time with a ‘golden goal.’ This was the first major tournament to be settled in this manner.
Meanwhile just down the road in N17 Tottenham were finishing 8th in the league.
In part 7- we reach the 2000 & 2004 tournaments.
t- Keith 16024542
f- peter shearman (old non de plume)
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