England produced one of their most thrilling performances in years to ensure a stylish route through to the quarter-finals, while the Netherlands also did just enough to reach the last eight.
A draw would have been sufficient for both teams to progress but Terry Venables' charges rarely looked prepared to settle for such an outcome in front of an expectant Wembley crowd. Though they had only Alan Shearer's penalty to show for their first-half efforts, England did not neglect their duty to entertain after the interval, Teddy Sheringham scoring either side of Shearer's second during a memorable 11-minute spell which lit up the hosts' tournament.
Such a sensational display might never have been had the Dutch taken one of a host of first-half opportunities, Clarence Seedorf, Aron Winter and Dennis Bergkamp all culpable of spurning presentable openings. Shearer was not so profligate after Danny Blind had felled Paul Ince, finishing from the spot to maintain his goal-a-game sequence at the finals.
It was not until after the restart that the floodgates opened, however, Sheringham showing characteristic aerial prowess to sneak Paul Gascoigne's corner in at the far post. The same two players were again involved in the third, Gascoigne bursting down the left before passing inside to Sheringham, whose delightful lay-off was met by a thunderous Shearer finish.
Sheringham made it four when he clipped in the rebound after Darren Anderton's deflected shot was parried by Edwin van der Sar; with Scotland leading Switzerland 1-0 at Villa Park, the Dutch were suddenly on the brink of elimination.
Patrick Kluivert came off the bench to perform a dramatic rescue act, finding a way past David Seaman with 12 minutes left to send the Orange through ahead of the Scots on goal difference. Guus Hiddink's team were not celebrating, however – they had been outplayed by an England team now brimming with momentum.
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