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Chapter 4: Euro 2000

June 5, 2014

12.06.2000: England vs Portugal

We burst into our holiday cottage in Balloch, Loch Lomond, rushing straight to the TV to get the game on.

The Goldsmith’s had spent the day exploring Edinburgh, and had just missed Paul Scholes’ early goal. We didn’t have long wait for another though, Steve McManaman slamming home at the back post and it looked like the 3 Lions would get off to a dream Euro 2000 start.

We still didn’t look comfortable though. This was the start of Portugal’s so-called ‘golden generation’, and Rui Costa, Luis Figo, Nuno Gomes and co were beginning to give Incey, Adams and the lads a bit of a tough ride.

Figo smashed one home, and the equaliser was inevitable. Joao Pinto headed home just before half-time and what had been a great day was turning, well, not very great.

I still remember Nuno Gomes’ winner clearly, and the feeling of dejection that came with it. After a fantastic start we’d well and truly ballsed it up, and where we holidaying? Scotland.

The headline in the Scottish Sun the next day? “THREE LIONS – ELEVEN SHEEP”

The shame!

The goals – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLluusBo7hM

17.06.2000: England vs Germany

We travelled home from Scotland in anticipation of the big one, a game against the Germans and a chance of revenge after Euro ’96! It was a sunny Saturday night as Dad, me, Andy, Craig, and young Dav gathered for a game that England simply had to win to stand a chance of qualifying from the group.

It was a tight game, the 2 sides looking a shadow of the teams who contested that enthralling European semi-final just 4 years earlier. I remember sitting on the chair closest to the TV just so nervous, the thought of us losing unthinkable.

Shearer headed in on 53 minutes and it was jubilant scenes down Harper Avenue, all I remember after that is the closing stages and urging the ref to blow his whistle… He eventually did, and that was it a win against the Germans, get in!!!

Now all we had to do was avoid defeat against the Romanians, easy.

vs Germany highlights – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huCx1Z2WHnY

20.06.2000: England vs Romania

So, the final group game. We just need a point whilst the Germans are out already, it’s turning into a good tournament this! Despite Nigel Martyn starting in goal with Seaman injured, I think we were all confident we’d get the job done.

However, a fluke of a Romanian cross-cum-shot gave them the lead and my heart sank.

But come half-time all was well again thanks to a Shearer penalty and an Owen goal.

Even if the Romanians grabbed an equaliser, we’d still qualify.

The Romanians grabbed that equaliser just after half-time and it was heart-in-mouth time again…

But we held firm, the quarter-final’s becoming so close you could taste them, before Phil Neville became England’s latest pantomime villain.

It was a poor challenge by Neville, a definite foul, Ganea scored the 89th minute penalty, and England were out.

Absolutely gutted.

England vs Romania – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80hZNGOY_g8


Memories from Euro 2000

It’s almost a foregone conclusion – before every International tournament we know at some point England will get knocked out and we’ll be gutted; but it doesn’t stop that little bit of belief that maybe, just maybe…

England and Germany were expected to qualify from that group but we didn’t. As the full-time whistle blew in that Romania game I was close to devastated, one of my lowest moments as an England fan, how the hell did we blow this?

The truth is we simply weren’t good enough. We had a manager in Keegan who later admitted he wasn’t quite up to it, and a team containing many past their best.

We nearly never made it to the Romania fixture anyway. The news was full of footage of England fans fighting in Belgium, including comical scenes of the water-cannons sending fully grown blokes flying through the air. There was talk of UEFA expelling us from the tournament due to the trouble, but it was the Romanians who sent us home in the end.

I remember watching the final on a Sunday night, Italy appeared to have won it until Sylvain Wiltord’s last minute equaliser. David Trezeguet then went and scored the golden goal for the French as they added the European Championship’s to the World Cup won 2 years prior.

Trezeguet had just signed for Juventus if I remember right? Bet he got a nice warm welcome!

Here’s all your stats & facts from Euro 2000 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euro_2000

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