Euro 1996 - England

Euro 1996 - England

Hosts: England

Final: Germany 2 Czech Republic 1 (a.e.t.)

Top Scorer: Alan Shearer (England) 5 goals
Teams/Matches: 16/31

Facts and Figures:

* The 1996 UEFA European Football Championship was the first to use the “Euro” name.

* Euro 1996 was the first year in which sixteen teams competed at the finals.

* Germany won the tournament by beating the Czech Republic with a “golden goal” in extra-time. This was the first time that a major championship was decided by a golden goal.

* 64 goals were scored at Euro 1996 at an average of 2.06 per match.

* Euro 96 had the highest aggregate attendance in Euro championship history (1,276,000) and the highest average per game (41,158).

* The slogan for Euro 1996 was "Football Comes Home", as the rules for football were first standardised in England.

Final

England, as the host nation, was expected to put in a bold bid to be crowned Euro 1996 winners and so it proved. Following a slow start with a draw against Switzerland, they defeated Scotland 2-0 before hammering the Netherlands 4-1 to top Group A. It was only the late consolation goal by the Dutch that enabled them to go through as runners-up in the group at the expense of Scotland.

France and Spain came through from Group B with Germany dominating Group C. They comfortably defeated the Czech Republic 2-0 and Russia 3-0 before a 0-0 draw with the Italians. The Czechs were the surprise of the group as they eclipsed the disappointing Italians for a place in the quarter-finals of Euro 1996. Portugal and Croatia qualified from Group D.

The quarter-finals and semi-finals of Euro 1996 were dominated by penalty shoot-outs. Germany’s 2-1 win over Croatia and the Czech Republic’s 1-0 victory over Portugal were the only two games that did not go to the drama of penalties. England came through against Spain and France beat the Netherlands to set up intriguing semi-finals.

England finally looked on course to reach a major final, their first since the 1966 World Cup, when Shearer gave them a third-minute lead against Germany. Kuntz equalised after 16 minutes and a stalemate remained for the rest of the match, including extra-time. It fell to the unfortunate Gareth Southgate to miss take the sixth penalty and his failure ended the hopes of the host nation. The Czech Republic came through a dour encounter against the French in similar fashion. The deadlock could not be broken and Pedros missed the vital penalty to send the Czech’s into the final.

The Czech Republic went ahead in the 59th minute through a penalty by Berger but the Germans pulled level through Bierhoff on 73 minutes. Into extra-time, Bierhoff turned and hit a left-foot shot which Kouba who somehow allowed ball to slip through his fingers and go in off the far post. It may not have been spectacular but it was the golden goal that made Germany Euro 1996 winners.

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