Skip to main content

News

  • Darren Anderton on England v Germany in Euro 96
Subscribe to newsfeed 

'Do I still think about it? I'm reminded almost every day!'

Posted on 9 November 2017  - 11:00

Every time England play Germany, Darren Anderton is reminded of how he was inches from changing the course of English football history in that glorious summer of 1996...

darren_anderton730

We spoke to the legendary midfielder on the 20th anniversary of Euro 96 last summer and as the Three Lions prepare to face Germany again at Wembley on Friday night, we re-run his memories of that famous night on June 26, 1996.

Everyone remembers Paul Gascoigne's agonising slide to try and reach Alan Shearer's cross in extra time of the semi-final of Euro 96.

It's one of the most iconic moments of arguably the most iconic international in the recent history of English football. Hearts in mouths, heads in hands, all in a matter of seconds. Gazza connects, and it's all over with the 'Golden Goal' rule in the tournament. He didn't...and we know the rest of the story.

However, there was another chance minutes before Gazza's near-miss - the moment a Spurs player almost wrote his name in English football folklore.

David Platt sent Steve McManaman clear down the right, he cut the ball back just out of the reach of diving goalkeeper Andreas Kopke into the path of Darren Anderton.

The ball just behind him, Anderton fashioned a shot on goal - a slow, looping effort that moved in slow motion towards the empty net - and hit the post.

Worse still, it bounced straight back into the hands of Kopke.

It was agony for England fans and the rest is history - 1-1 after extra time, England out on penalties. Would we have beaten the Czech Republic and lifted the trophy? We'll never know.

 anderton_96sf_730x475

So close...

"The ball was just behind me and the goalkeeper got the slightest of touches on it, which didn’t help," reflected Darren - our record appearance-maker in the Premier League with 299 to his name.

"I got a good connection but ended up on the floor, so I didn’t even see it hit the post. I looked up and saw the ball bounce into the goalkeeper’s hands.

"We then had Gazza’s chance, which was the opposite. He waited for the goalkeeper to get a little touch, and he didn’t. It’s incredible how unlucky we were.

"People often talk about the Holland game (4-1 win) but we played so well against Germany. There was a real belief we’d win that game. We scored early, they scored a bit of a scruffy equaliser, a deflection that went their way. It was a great game, we had great footballers and we kept the ball well.

"We were a team and there was a real belief we'd go on to win the tournament."

Did he still think about that moment? What might have been? "I'm reminded just about every day!" said the elegant midfielder. "I watched the documentary (Euro 96, screened last summer) and went to bed a little uptight again, thinking what might have been!"