Football fever swept England as, in the first 16-team European Championship, the hosts swept the Netherlands aside on the way to another semi-final penalty shootout with Germany. The Czech Republic, in their first tournament since their independence, stormed all the way to the final but Oliver Bierhof, and a golden goal, would ensure that there would be no second successive surprise winner of this tournament and that Germany would claim an unprecedented third European crown.
Runners-up: Czech Republic
Semi-finals: England, France
Quarter-finals: Spain, Netherlands, Croatia, Portugal
Group stage: Switzerland, Scotland, Bulgaria, Romania, Italy, Russia, Denmark, Turkey
Top scorers: Alan Shearer (England) – 5
Did you know?
Germany overtook the Soviet Union's record by reaching a fifth final and secured an as-yet unmatched third European title.
Also in 1996
European Champion Clubs' Cup winners: Juventus (1-1 aet, 4-2 pens v AFC Ajax)
European Footballer of the Year: Ronaldo (PSV Eindhoven/FC Barcelona)
Eurovision Song Contest winner: Eimear Quinn (Republic of Ireland) singing 'The Voice'
ESM Golden Shoe winner: Zviad Endeladze (FC Margveti Zestafoni)
Nobel Peace Prize winner: Bishop Carlos Belo & José Ramos-Horta (for work towards peace in East Timor)
Men's Olympic 100m champion: Donovan Bailey (Canada) running a world record 9.84
Formula One world champion: Damon Hill (United Kingdom) driving a Williams
Oscar for Best Picture: The English Patient
8 January – Former French president François Mitterrand dies, aged 79
5 July – Dolly the sheep is the first mammal to be successfully cloned from an adult cell, at the Roslin Institute in Midlothian, Scotland
15 November – Tomb Raider is released for the PC, Sony PlayStation and the Sega Saturn, spawning a series of sequels and movies.
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