England & UEFA European Championship
England’s experiences at the UEFA European Championship finals have been fairly mixed throughout the years.
There have been some real lows, including the penalty shootout exits at the hands of Germany and Portugal.
There were also the embarrassments of 2008 when England did not even qualify for the tournament, as well their dismal showing vs Iceland in the Round of 16 at Euro 2016.
But with all the bad has come some good and at 101 we have picked out England’s top five moments in their Euro history.
Hopefully, Gareth Southgate’s team will add some new moments of their own to this list this summer!
1) England’s penalty shootout win vs Spain at Euro ’96
If you are looking back on England’s best moments at the Euros, it’s impossible not to bring up Euro ’96.
1996 was the summer that football did actually come home, with England hosting a major tournament on home soil for the first time since 1966.
And, though they would eventually go on to lose to Germany in the semi-finals, it remains the closest the Three Lions have ever come to making it to a Euro final.
To reach the semi-finals, England had to see off Spain in the quarter-finals.
The match could not be decided over 120 minutes: a penalty shootout was needed.
England – as if it needs to be stated – had a terrible record in penalty shootouts in major finals: indeed, England ultimately exited the competition against Germany on penalties in the final four.
Versus Spain, though, England were unstoppable in the shootout.
Alan Shearer, David Platt, Stuart Pearce (his redemption moment after Italia ’90) and Paul Gascoigne stepped up to convert their spot-kicks, with David Seaman the hero of the day when he comfortably saved Miguel Angel Nadal’s penalty to put England into the last four.
This moment, despite England going out in the following round, remains special because it is still currently England’s only shootout victory at the Euros and, up until the 2018 World Cup, was England’s only shootout win in a major tournament.
2) Wayne Rooney’s emergence at Euro 2004
Next up on this list is not so much an individual moment, but it is still a huge part of England’s history.
Wayne Rooney, of course, was one of England’s and Manchester United’s greatest-ever players.
Though he did not pick up silverware with the Three Lions, he will still go down as one of their best players.
And, after netting his final England goal on June 27, 2016, Rooney ultimately became England’s top-scorer with 53 goals scored throughout his international career.
But where did Rooney’s rise to England stardom begin? At Euro 2004.
England would be ousted from the competition at the quarter-final stage after losing a penalty shootout vs Portugal.
Before that tie, however, Wayne Rooney cemented himself on the international stage.
At just 18 years of age, Rooney would net a brace in England’s group stage clash with Switzerland, becoming the youngest scorer in Euro history at the time.
It got better for Rooney too.
The former Everton and Man United forward went on to score a further two goals in England’s following outing vs Croatia, which the Three Lions won 4-2.
The tournament itself ended in disappointment, but it will still be remembered as the time when Rooney burst onto the international scene in a big way.
3) Paul Gascoigne’s goal vs Scotland at Euro ’96
Unsurprisingly, Euro ’96 is back on this list for a second time.
Before seeing off Spain and losing to Germany in the knockout rounds, England had to navigate a group made up of the Netherlands, Scotland and Switzerland.
The Three Lions drew 1-1 with Switzerland in the group opener after a late penalty cancelled out Alan Shearer’s 23nd-minute strike.
England then faced off with bitter rivals Scotland in their second outing.
Alan Shearer opened the scoring with a famous goal: a back-post header from a Gary Neville cross.
David Seaman then became an England hero when he saved Gary McAllister’s penalty.
And, minutes later England witnessed an iconic moment the nation will never forget when Paul Gascoigne scored one of best-ever goals for England at any tournament, ever.
Gazza capped the moment of ecstasy with an unforgettable dentist chair goal celebration.
4) Daniel Sturridge’s winner vs Wales at Euro 2016
As already mentioned, Euro 2016 was a pretty poor tournament for England, which saw them ousted from the competition by Iceland.
Before that, though, England barely made it out of the group phase.
The only reason they were able to do so was thanks to some last-minute heroics vs old rivals, Wales.
Gareth Bale fired Wales into a 1-0 lead after 42 minutes when the pair met in Group B, however Jamie Vardy drew the game level after 56 minutes.
Then Daniel Sturridge enjoyed one of his best-ever moments in an England shirt.
In the 92nd minute, Sturridge spared England’s blushes with a memorable last-minute winner that earned the Three Lions a crucial three points.
Cue another quality celebration: Sturridge’s wobbly arm dance.
5) Danny Welbeck completes England comeback vs Sweden at Euro 2012
Our next and final moment on this list came at Euro 2012.
England were facing off, once again, against Sweden, in their second group game of the tournament.
Swede were England’s bogie team: the Three Lions had never beaten the Scandivanians.
Andy Carroll – yes, Andy Carroll! – gave England the lead with a header, but a Glen Johnson own goal drew Sweden level just after the break.
It looked bleak for England just before the hour, as Olof Mellberg put Sweden 2-1 up with a header.
But England England turned things around with heroics from Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck.
Walcott made it 2-2 after 64 minutes, before Walcott set up Danny Welbeck, whose ingenuity rescued England a valuable 3-2 win.
England progressed, Sweden went home.