Euro Flashback: Germans break English hearts again
Throughout Euro 2020, we have been looking back at classic games from previous tournaments. Today's featured match is Germany's famous penalty shootout victory over England in their Euro 96 semi-final clash.
A nation on a high
England faced Germany in the semi-finals of Euro 96 with the country alive and buzzing.
After securing memorable victories against Scotland and the Netherlands in the group stage, the Three Lions edged past Spain on penalties in the quarter-finals.
There was a sense of optimism in the air.
This was the first time England had hosted a major tournament since the World Cup in 1966, when the Three Lions had defeated West Germany in the final.
That was then — but it could be again.
England could not have hoped for a better start as Alan Shearer scored just three minutes into the game.
Paul Ince tested Andreas Kopke with a long-range effort the keeper turned behind for a corner.
Shearer was well placed at the resulting set-piece to turn home Tony Adams’ flick-on, following Paul Gascoigne’s wicked delivery.
But the lead did not last long as Germany equalised through Stefan Kuntz in the 16th minute.
The forward managed to get in front of England’s defence to get a foot on Thomas Helmer’s cross and send a shot past David Seaman.
No more goals arrived in the 90 minutes and the tense affair went to extra-time.
England inches away from the final
Manager Terry Venables and the rest of the England bench held their heads in their hands as Darren Anderton hit the post in extra-time.
But the more memorable miss was still to come.
Shearer volleyed across the box from Teddy Sheringham’s pass and the onrushing Gascoigne looked set to score at the far post, only to agonisingly miss the ball by millimetres.
When it came down to penalties, Shearer, David Platt, Stuart Pearce, and Gascoigne scored as they had done in the shootout against Spain — but those four were not enough this time, with the Germans perfect from the spot themselves.
Sheringham dispatched another for England but Gareth Southgate’s weak penalty was saved by Andreas Kopke.
Andreas Moller then smashed his kick confidently into the roof of the net to give Germany the win.
Tears for heroes dressed in grey, no plans for final day.
‘It wasn’t to be’
Venables expressed his pride at England’s performance, despite their elimination.
He said: "The players can be very proud of themselves, as can everyone who has been involved in the past five weeks.
"It's a shame not to get to the final, we've done our very best.
"I thought our performance in the second half was excellent and really we had the chances to finish it off in extra-time. But it wasn't to be."
What happened next?
Shearer‘s five goals were enough to see him remain the tournament’s top scorer but England were unable to finish as the top team.
Germany went on to win the final in extra-time against the Czech Republic thanks to a golden goal from Oliver Bierhoff.
The defeat only increased the sense that Germany are England’s international football nemesis — especially in tournaments.
And the Three Lions went on to exit four more on penalties before finally defeating Colombia on spot-kicks at the 2018 World Cup.