"It was a goal made in Tottenham"
Thu 17 June 2021, 11:00|Tottenham Hotspur
Paul Gascoigne scored one of England's most famous goals 25 years ago this week. As the Three Lions prepare to face Scotland again in Euro 2020 on Friday, we caught up with the player who provided the assist - Darren Anderton.
"That game always gets brought up, and everyone wants to talk about Gazza's goal."
Now based in the USA, Darren Anderton is reflecting on a day fans of a certain vintage will never forget. 15 June 1996, Wembley Stadium, England v Scotland. The 'Auld Enemy' back the home of football. Euro 96 in full swing on home soil. And a clash that meant as much as any in the storied history of the oldest international in the book, dating back to 1872.
There was plenty riding on it, as well. England had drawn with Switzerland in their opening game, and were set to face the Netherlands last in the group. Scotland had drawn with the Oranje, and would play Switzerland last. "I would probably say it was the most pressure I’ve experienced before a game," said Darren, who started each of England's five games in the tournament. "If we’d got beat, we were pretty much out."
The first half was typically tight, but England took the lead through Alan Shearer on 53 minutes. However, Scotland got back into it and everything hinged on 60 seconds on 78-79 minutes. David Seaman saved Gary McAllister's penalty on 77.22 and the Gazza's moment, on 78.21.
"It was a goal made in Tottenham, Teddy to me, to Gazza," recalled Darren, still our record appearance maker in the Premier League with 299 between 1992-2004. "I love that, love being part of such an iconic goal.
"It’s a pass I could play quite easily. Teddy’s got it, I’m on the left shouting ‘yes, yes, yes’ and thinking ‘please pass to me’ because I’d seen Gazza’s run. Of course, Teddy passed straight to me, and it wasn’t the most difficult pass in the world to Gazza, but it was into his path. Like everyone else, I thought he was going to hit it first time on the volley and it was almost like slow motion, a magic moment."
It's not lost on Darren how this minute changed the course of the game and arguably the tournament. England held on their 2-0 advantage and progessed to the semi-finals, where they agonisingly lost on penalties to Germany. Scotland went out at the group stage because they'd scored one less goal than the Netherlands.
Darren said: "For me, not only would it have gone 1-1, but it was deja-vu in terms of what had happened the week before against Switzerland, when we’d gone a goal ahead, got edgy, Scotland this time got a little control, a few misplaced passes and you are trying to hang on.
"David Seaman then makes the penalty save and the goal... it’s one of the best goals I’ve ever been on a pitch to witness with the magnitude of the whole situation, the celebrations, the stadium erupting. That minute sums it all up. It could have been a disaster but turned into the success that everyone stills talks about now."