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This time, the trials of supporting England at international tournaments…
The first Euro tournament was held before I was born: 1960 in France. Only four teams; the Soviet Union won it. No England, so no problem with penalties.
Spain 1964. England participated. Didn’t get very far, even with still only four teams…
I was 2 years old, so I didn’t care.
All the heart-ache was to come, the main (so far) being Italia 90, and Euro 96 in England. So, Euro 96: All to play for. That epic, mesmerising goal by Gascoigne against the Scots, that sensational win 4-1 against the Dutch, that gut-wrenching miss from the squared ball against Germany.
And of course the penalties, by which time England had got into the groove to be world-ranked 1 in losing penalty shoot-outs, having limbered up with that loss against the Germans in the 1990 World Cup. Football so nearly came home in Euro 96. I remember hearing the Germans singing that it had – annoyingly funny…Time for payback, Mr Southgate.
As a means of recovering from that trauma which EVEN NOW HURTS, this should reset your equilibrium if you are suffering too:
The couple of blips to our record on crashing out in spot kick deciders has had a couple of blips but I still head for the back of the sofa with a bottle of Scotch when it slithers around once more
Still, did I mention Gazza’s awaesome moment when the world slowed on it axis to make sure he didn’t stumble?
Bringing things up to date, I have just finished watching North Macedonia (I must confess that I wouldn’t be able to point to it on a map) against Ukraine. Loads of fun. How the tournament has expanded and how helpful that it is being played during a hot spell when there’s nothing else but to stay indoors with a cold beer. I’m happy to pitch in…
Thank God we won in 1966. No penalties.
So much better with the crowds partially back.
Their noise can hide the groans and whimpers.
Maybe not the screams.
But I live in hope.