With dreams of winning on home soil a first major trophy in thirty years, England's EURO '96 expectations were checked by a 1-1 draw with Switzerland in their Group A opener.
Englishman Roy Hodgson may have guided Switzerland through a comfortable qualifying campaign, but his departure for FC Internazionale Milano had left them struggling for momentum ahead of the finals. A 3-1 friendly defeat at Wembley in November 1995 made it little surprise that the Swiss fell behind to Alan Shearer's strike midway through the first half. Now under the charge of Artur Jorge, they fought back, however, earning an impressive point courtesy of Kübilay Türkyilmaz's 83rd-minute penalty.
Such an outcome had looked unlikely when Shearer ended his 12-game international scoring drought, collecting Paul Ince's cute inside pass before unleashing a fearsome shot high into the roof of the net. Weighed down by the hopes of an expectant nation, Terry Venables' side now looked well placed to remove the shackles.
It proved a false dawn, though, with Switzerland working their way back into the game in impressive fashion. They nearly drew level just prior to the interval when Marco Grassi somehow contrived to turn on to the bar after Türkyilmaz had ghosted past Stuart Pearce and delivered a pinpoint pass from the right.
Unperturbed by that miss, the Swiss remained buoyant in the second half. Ciriaco Sforza and Johann Vogel were commanding linchpins in midfield, the latter going close with a rasping drive before the equaliser finally arrive; Pearce handled in the area and Türkyilmaz calmly slotted into the bottom right-hand corner. It would not be the last of the spot-kick drama involving the hosts.