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England beat Scotland at EURO '96: Shearer and Seaman look back

Alan Shearer and David Seaman look back to 15 June 1996, when England beat Scotland at Wembley to get a nation believing that this might be their time.

Alan Shearer speaks to UEFA.tv
Alan Shearer speaks to UEFA.tv Icon Sport via Getty Images

Hosts England had made a tentative start to EURO '96, drawing 1-1 with Switzerland in the opening game. Next up were the auld enemy Scotland in an encounter dripping with history and significance.

Alan Shearer and Paul Gascoigne earned Terry Venables' side a 2-0 win, but the scoreline told only half the story. Shearer and goalkeeper David Seaman cast their minds back 24 years ago to the day to reflect on that hazy summer afternoon at Wembley.

Shearer, who had broken a long international goal drought against the Swiss, headed England in front after 53 minutes.

How important was that first goal, Alan? You could see in the celebration – absolute delight.

EURO '96 highlights: England 2-0 Scotland
EURO '96 highlights: England 2-0 Scotland

Alan Shearer: "It’s the life of a striker. You don’t score for 13 games, then you score in one game and all of a sudden you can’t stop scoring. It’s just confidence, it’s belief, it’s getting into the right places at the right time.

"The ball from Gary Neville from the right-hand side was a peach. It was a disaster for a goalkeeper, and for defenders – it was right in between them – but perfect for a forward like myself. I can’t remember who it was who I nicked in in front of, but there was no way I was leaving it for someone else to put in the back of the net."

Watch Seaman and Shearer speak to UEFA.tv

Seaman then made a key save to keep out Scotland striker Gordon Durie before denying Gary McAllister from the penalty spot.

And then at the other end, David, you had an equally important role, didn’t you? Talk us through those five minutes, because then you more or less got the assist for Gazza’s goal as well.

David Seaman: "Yes, I’ll claim the assist for that no doubt, no doubt! The save from Durie was one down by the post. The thing I remember about that save is that I actually clawed it out and then my forearm went onto the post. I got a massive swelling the day after.

Famous EURO celebrations
Famous EURO celebrations

"The penalty save was such an important one, because we were struggling a little bit. They were getting the upper hand in that second half. And then when Gary put the ball down, I’m thinking, ‘I don’t really know where he’s going’, because I’ve faced him when he played for Leeds and he was a good penalty-taker.

"As I’ve gone to my right, I’ve realised that I haven’t got time to put my hand out, so I just stuck my elbow out. Thankfully, it flew straight over the crossbar and Tony Adams came in and gave me a massive kiss because he was the guy that gave the penalty away. I remember him being very bristly!"

Shearer: "He's underselling himself there with those two saves. Those two were great saves. If that was me, heading that ball like Durie did, I’d be expecting that to go in the back of the net. That was a fantastic save.

"Then, the penalty. It would have been so easy for that ball to go anywhere, but to get the contact that he did, to keep it out and not go into the back of the net, they were two great saves."

Watch the full game on UEFA.tv

Paul 'Gazza' Gascoigne doubled England's lead with a virtuoso effort 11 minutes from time.

How did you witness Gazza's goal? Did you expect him to do that?

EURO '96 highlights: Spotlight on Paul Gascoigne
EURO '96 highlights: Spotlight on Paul Gascoigne

Seaman: "Yeah, Gazza was more than capable of that and we saw him day in, day out in training. We knew how good he was and how special he was. That’s why we were always wanting him in the team and in the squad.

"We still joke about it now. I just keep saying to him: 'Why did you steal my glory?' Because I saved the penalty, the ball goes out for a corner, the corner comes in; free-kick. I play the ball to Teddy [Sheringham]. Within a minute, it’s like he’s nicked all my glory. I just can't believe it."

Shearer: “It was a fantastic goal. We talk about the relief that I had when I scored in the first game against Switzerland; I think [about] the relief that Gazza had and that everyone had for him, because he was under huge pressure as an individual to go out and perform.

"We saw that, as David said, in training. We knew he was capable, so we were all desperate for him to do it out on the pitch where it mattered. So for him to score in the way he did, the way he flicked it over [Colin] Hendry and had the calmness to stick it in the back of the net on the volley.

That Gascoigne celebration
That Gascoigne celebrationPopperfoto via Getty Images

"And then cue the celebration, which he’d planned beforehand. It was typical Gazza, that was."

Gazza's goal was enthusiastically celebrated with a re-enactment of a pre-tournament tabloid photo from a team-building trip to Hong Kong.

I think it might have been Steve McManaman you were holding off [in the celebration]. You weren't going to let anyone else do that, were you?

Shearer: "That was part of my job to do that. I don’t know how he remembered it, because when you do score a goal, I just don't remember anything. I just remember running away with my arm in the air, or whatever it may be. So, for him to remember to still do the celebration, there’s a lot of credit for that."

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