After a slow start to Euro 1996, England’s 4-1 victory against the Dutch offered the promise of a deep run into the tournament. Next they faced a solid Spain side. ITV Sport continue to show these games and this is the fourth in our series, see parts one to three here: England 1 v 1 Switzerland England 2 v 0 Scotland England 4 v 1 Netherlands Spain had arrived in the quarter finals unbeaten in their group. They started off with two fairly quiet draws against Bulgaria and France, but came to life in their final game, much as England had, by beating the Romanians in a 2-1 victory that was more convincing than the scoreline suggested. Romania didn’t even have a shot in the second half: This game would be different though, up against an English team who top scored in the group stages. In the event the game was fairly cagey and even. Both team attempted around 600 passes and completed them at a percentage in the low 70s and while the shots were frequent, good chances were few: Did England tire? Surely they didn’t try and hold for penalties? Regardless they had no shots in the second half of extra time. Overall, Spain outshot England 21 to 17 but their shot quality and accuracy was poor; just one shot on target and a lot of efforts from long range: And so penalties took centre stage, with memories of England’s 1990 World Cup still fresh. Shearer scored with aplomb, Fernando Hierro–who had taken the most shots in the game-7-with no success, failed again as he crashed the ball against the bar. David Platt scored, as did Guillermo Amor. Stuart Pearce stepped up next, like Platt he’d taken a penalty against Germany six years before, however unlike Platt he’d missed. Time for redemption? A trademark powerful strike answered that question with a resounding “yes” and the Wembley crowd responded wildly. Alberto Belsué scored to temporarily quieten them, Paul Gascoigne scored to raise the noise levels once more. Lastly Miguel Ángel Nadal stepped up, put the ball to David Seaman’s left and the keeper guessed correctly. The semi-finals and Germany beckoned for England.
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