Paul Gascoigne: England v Scotland 1996
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Alan Shearer’s penalty had settled the nerves. When Teddy Sheringham headed home a corner early in the second half, the job was as good as done. Then, with the game approaching the hour mark, came a moment of devastating quality to banish any lingering doubts.
Fittingly, it was Gascoigne, buoyed by his goal against Scotland, who was the catalyst. Exchanging passes with McManaman on the left, he surged into the area, gliding past a flat-footed Aron Winter and drawing Danny Blind towards him. Seeing that Blind had left Sheringham in space, Gascoigne prodded the ball into his path for the shot. Except, no. Realising the Dutch defence were in total disarray as the pass reached him, Sheringham sensed Shearer was in even more space to his right. Feinting to shoot, he selflessly rolled it towards his strike partner, who smashed it home. Wembley erupted.
Gascoigne’s buccaneering run. Sheringham’s awareness and ingenuity. Shearer’s emphatic finish. It was a goal that had everything; a goal that ignited a genuine belief that England really could end those 30 years of hurt.