Fans of a certain age will know the goal inside-out as Gazza lifts the ball over Scottish defender Colin Hendry before dispatching a volley on the full past Andy Goram, his team-mate at the time at Glasgow Rangers. The goal was pure genius, the ‘dentist chair’ celebration that followed iconic. England won 2-0 and were on their way...
It’s less known, however, that two Spurs players combined to send Gazza clear on goal.
Below: Darren in action against Scotland, Euro 96
Gazza’s strike will always be part of any ‘top 10’ list of England goals, so that must make Darren Anderton’s perfect pass into his path from Teddy Sheringham’s knock down as one of the best assists ever as well!
“I was on the touchline thinking ‘come on Teddy, just head it on to me’ because I’d seen Gazza’s run,” recalled Darren, who started every game in Euro 96.
“As the ball came to me I just thought ‘stick it into his path’. Luckily I got the right weight on it and he didn’t have to break stride. He then produced that great bit of skill to lift it over Colin Hendry and the volley to finish it off - then the celebrations!
“That was Gazza all over and it was a brilliant, brilliant day. That goal will live with me forever.”
Below: Gazza volleys home against Scotland
Our record appearance-maker in the Premier League with 299 between 1992-2004, Darren went on to win 30 caps for England and played - and scored - in the 1998 World Cup Finals.
However, in terms of nerves, that sunny afternoon at Wembley topped the lot for him. “We took so much stick the week before after the way we’d played in the opening game and drawing against Switzerland,” said Darren.
“All that mattered against Scotland was the result and nerves-wise, that was the biggest game for me.
“Before the game myself and Teddy were having a joke with (Spurs team-mate) Colin Calderwood, who was playing for Scotland. It didn’t feel like a normal international because we were playing against players we came up against every week.
Below: The famous celebration
“The relief after they missed a penalty (Gary McAllister missed from the spot just a minute before Gazza’s goal with the score at 1-0) and Gazza scored that goal was ridiculous! From that point, everything started.
“As soon as the final whistle went ‘Football’s Coming Home’ came on and no-one left the stadium, everyone was singing it and it was all a bit surreal.
“Our confidence in the tournament came from there. We had a great team with great players and leaders. It felt like we were meant to win it so when it all ended against Germany (a penalty shoot-out loss in the semi-final) it didn’t feel real.”
Additional reading - Darren's reflections on Euro 96 and going out against Germany...