Euro 96 was an iconic competition for so many reasons. It was a summer where England reached the semi-finals and the old Wembley Stadium rocked to the sound of Three Lions.
25 years ago today, Baddiel, Skinner & The Lightning Seeds released ‘Three Lions.’
— Stu’s Football Flashbacks (@stusfootyflash) May 20, 2021
The oldest rivalry in football
One of the most memorable moments of the tournament came when England played Scotland in the Group Stages. England had struggled in the early stages of this match and was perhaps lucky to have not conceded an equaliser from the penalty spot. A few minutes later, though, Paul Gascoigne scored one of the great England goals.
This tournament in 2021 sees the old enemies play each other again. Who will have a moment like Paul Gascoigne? Those who bet on football at Space Casino will see that England are huge favorites to win this match and then to be winners of Group D.
Scotland does have players such as Scott McTominay of Manchester United and Andrew Robertson of Liverpool who both play at the highest level and could cause problems for England but the Three Lions’ attacking depth will be raring to go.
Home advantage in 2021
This summer’s competition has a slightly different format with matches being played all over Europe and that means England will have home advantage in the group stages.
The Three Lions will want to top their group because this would mean their last-16 tie is played at Wembley and not in Copenhagen or Budapest. Should they progress, the semi-finals and final are also played at their home stadium. With crowds returning, this could give them a huge advantage.
Unlike Euro 96, England is in decent form in the build-up to the tournament. England hadn’t even qualified for the World Cup two years earlier and had struggled in the warm-up matches 25 years ago.
Going beyond the semi-finals
England’s run to the semi-final at the 2018 World Cup was their best run at a tournament since they reached the semi-final of Euro 96. Can they finally go one better and reach the final in 2021? It would be their first final since the historic World Cup in 1966. The members of that squad have been legends ever since and the commentary of the fourth and final goal has become equally iconic. “They think it’s all over.”
Will the likes of Phil Foden, Harry Kane and Harry Maguire emulate Sir Bobby Charlton, Bobby Moore and Paul Gascoigne who all had memorable tournaments for the England national team?
The Legacy of Euro 96
There has been a lot of discussion around the legacy of Euro 96. Was it a success or is that just rose-tinted glasses for people from the country? This interesting article from Eurosport argued that, outside of England, it was seen as a forgettable tournament. Despite this, English fans believe it was a turning point in the relationship between the national team and its fans. ITV even produced a documentary looking at its impact.
Will this tournament have a greater legacy than Euro 96 and be remembered even more fondly in 25 years?