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UEFA EURO 2020 contenders in focus: England

We continue our look at the history and pedigree of all 24 UEFA EURO 2020 contenders. Next stop: England.

England came closest to lifting the trophy when they reached the semi-finals on home soil in 1996
England came closest to lifting the trophy when they reached the semi-finals on home soil in 1996 Bob Thomas Sports Photography vi

EURO pedigree

Previous final tournaments: 9
EURO best: semi-finals (1968, 1996)

Despite being tournament regulars, England have never quite lived up to their own supporters' lofty expectations. The zenith, no doubt, came on home soil in 1996 when Terry Venables' buccaneering team came within a whisker of reaching a first final. England fans still wake up in a cold sweat thinking about Paul Gascoigne's despairing semi-final lunge against Germany.

Key players

Every goal on England's road to EURO 2020
Every goal on England's road to EURO 2020

Harry Kane (51 caps, 32 goals)
England's captain and primary source of goals, Kane is a talismanic figure for Gareth Southgate's side. As deadly as ever in front of goal, the Tottenham striker continues to be the focal point of an England attack full of youthful exuberance.

Raheem Sterling (58 caps, 13 goals)
The Manchester City forward has benefited hugely from the tutelage of Josep Guardiola, improving his movement off the ball while adding composure in front of goal to his considerable threat when running at the opposition.

Memorable EURO goals

• Gascoigne's sensational goal against the Auld Enemy Scotland at EURO '96 sent a nation into hysteria and had the hosts starting to believe football really was "coming home".

• The world was at an 18-year-old Wayne Rooney's feet when he sprinted clear against Croatia before giving Tomislav Butina 'the eyes' and rolling calmly into the back of the net for his fourth goal of the UEFA EURO 2004 group stage.

Sturridge's dramatic late winner for England against Wales
Sturridge's dramatic late winner for England against Wales

• England fell behind against neighbours Wales in the UEFA EURO 2016 group stage, but Daniel Sturridge's added-time winner sparked exuberant celebrations.

Memorable moments

• Having infamously missed from the spot in the 1990 FIFA World Cup semi-finals, Stuart Pearce's eye-bulging celebration after converting his penalty in the EURO '96 quarter-final shoot-out against Spain was enough to warm even the coldest of hearts.

• Penalties were required once again when England and Germany met in the last four of EURO '96, but it might have been so different had Gazza not fallen so agonisingly short of connecting with Alan Shearer's 99th-minute cross.

• A rampaging Rooney was unstoppable in the early stages of EURO 2004 – he looked like he could win England the trophy single-handedly. All that momentum seemed to go in a flash, though, when he was forced off 27 minutes into their quarter-final against Portugal due to a broken foot.

Watch Rooney double against Croatia in 2004
Watch Rooney double against Croatia in 2004

Stats

Most final tournament appearances
11: Gary Neville
10: Wayne Rooney
9: Tony Adams, Steven Gerrard, Alan Shearer

Most final tournament goals
7: Alan Shearer
6: Wayne Rooney
3: Frank Lampard

Killer stat: England have appeared in more EURO tournaments without lifting the trophy than any other nation.

Did you know?

Watch Gascoigne bamboozle Scotland at EURO '96
Watch Gascoigne bamboozle Scotland at EURO '96

• Just four of England's 40 EURO goals over the years have been left-footed efforts (and only two of those came from left-footers!).

• Eric Dier's strike against Russia in 2016 is England's only EURO goal direct from a free-kick.

• England have converted three of their four EURO penalties (excluding shoot-outs), through Shearer (2) and Rooney. David Beckham missed in 2004.

UEFA.tv: Great England EURO goals