Steffen reminisces on Euro 96
18 November 2013|Tottenham Hotspur
Steffen Freund was just a yard away when Paul Gascoigne could have changed the course of English football history.
Our Assistant Head Coach lined-up for Germany against England in the never-to-be-forgotten semi-final of Euro 96 at Wembley Stadium.
Steffen followed Gazza’s every move that night and tracked his run into the box as Teddy Sheringham crossed the ball in the first half of 'Golden Goal’ extra time - when the next goal scored would have won the game.
Sheringham’s cross found Alan Shearer, he volleyed across goal and Gazza, sliding in, was inches away from sending England into the final.
It wasn’t the only near miss - fellow Spurs legend Darren Anderton hit the post and Stefan Kuntz had a goal disallowed.
Steffen was seriously injured two minutes from time - a knee injury that kept him out for nine months - as a memorable match ended 1-1 after extra time. Germany went through on penalties and went on to beat the Czech Republic via the ‘Golden Goal’ in the final.
“It’s a special place to play and for every footballer in the world, there is the dream to play at Wembley," said Steffen, capped 21 times by Germany.
“For the Germans, it’s a special rivalry. You grow up as a player knowing that it’s one of the biggest games in the world and there is nothing better than playing England at Wembley.
“There have been three massive games, the World Cup Final in 1966, World Cup semi-final in 1990 and the semi-finals of Euro 96, and I was lucky enough and proud to play in one of them.
“It’s my view to this day that the England squad was maybe a little better than the Germany squad and we were a little lucky. Darren Anderton hit the post during the golden goal, Gazza had two big chances.
“Having said that, we also had a goal disallowed, a header from Steffan Kuntz.
“It was a tournament that England could have won, a fantastic tournament with an incredible atmosphere. We played our group games at Old Trafford and we then had a dream to play our semi-final and final at Wembley, and we did that.
“I will never forget that tournament.”
Tomorrow: Steffen on Tuesday’s friendly as the teams meet again at Wembley.