PAUL Gascoigne relived the glory goal which crushed Scotland in Euro 96 — and fired up England for tonight’s Euro 2020 showdown by roaring: “We can go all the way this time.”
The Geordie, 54, smashed home an amazing volley against the “Auld Enemy” to seal a 2-0 win and send the Three Lions on a thrilling run to the semi final.
England legend Paul Gascoigne is tipping his team to go all the way in Euro 2020Credit: Dan Charity / The Sun
Now he says Gareth Southgate’s young squad can top that by winning the tournament.
Gazza declared: “We have brilliant players and are good enough to go all the way. Our strikeforce this time is unbelievable.
“We have so much power going forward we’re going to be very hard to beat at Wembley.
“And we’re going into the Scotland game having beaten Croatia, who I thought were good enough to win the tournament.
Gazza jinxes past Scotland’s Colin HendryCredit: Reuters
“The Scots were unlucky in their first match and have their strongest squad in ages. They’ll be bang up for playing us at Wembley and it’ll be a hard game.
“But, if we can play like I did that day and knock them out, we have our best chance in years of lifting a trophy.”
The Newcastle, Spurs, Lazio and Glasgow Rangers legend — who has battled booze and drug demons — also paid tribute to his England team-mate Southgate, 50.
The Three Lions boss missed his shootout penalty against Germany in the dramatic 1996 semi-final.
Gazza said: “I’m so proud of Gareth and how he’s come back from the disappointment.
Gazza cheekily mimicked the infamous ‘dentist chair’ stunt by sprawling on his back with teammates grabbing a bottle of water to squirt at him
“I scored my penalty against the Germans even though it was a miss-kick. He missed his and put us out of the tournament. But I ended up in rehab and he ended up manager of the most successful England team in decades!
“Gareth’s been a good friend down the years and I respect him for what he’s done with the team.”
He added: “Covid and all these lockdowns have been a f*****g nightmare and an England run in the Euros is just what the country needs right now.”
Gazza had the nation in raptures with his Wembley moment of magic which came — like tonight’s Battle of Britain showdown — in the second of three qualifying group games.
Running towards goal on the left edge of Scotland’s penalty area, he deftly lifted the ball over defender Colin Hendry’s head before letting it drop on his right boot and lashing it past ’keeper Andy Goram.
Gazza celebrates the goal that ‘crushed’ Scotland in the Euro ’96 clash
Gazza said: “It’s the best goal I ever scored in an England shirt and the greatest goal ever scored in 100 years at Wembley.
“I had a little glance and I could see Colin coming across towards me. If he had stopped, I would have controlled the ball then beat him. But when he kept coming, I knew I had him.
“I flicked it over Colin’s head with my left and banged it past Andy Goram in goal with my right.
“Colin was left on his a*** and the whole of Wembley just erupted. It was pure joy. No words can describe that feeling.
“I’d worked on being a two-footed player from the age of eight, banging a ball against a wall with only my left foot to train myself and that was the day it paid off.”
The squad in ‘96 had been criticised after holding an infamous pre-tournament bonding party in Hong Kong where some players had booze poured into their mouths while sitting in a bar’s novelty dentist’s chair.
Gazza says: ‘It’s amazing to see so many youngsters coming through in Gareth’s squad’Credit: Getty
Gazza cheekily mimicked the stunt by sprawling on his back with team-mates grabbing a bottle of water to squirt at him.
He recalled: “I said in the dressing room before the game, ‘Lads, whoever scores, let’s do the dentist’s chair’.
“The mad thing is that people remember the celebration as much as the goal.
“I’d put the bottle there to prepare for it and just lay there with my mouth open waiting for the lads to give me a good soaking.
Colin Hendry can only watch as the ball is fired towards the netCredit: Getty – Contributor
“The goal was made even sweeter by the fact that I was a Glasgow Rangers player in those days and had never managed to score a single goal against Andy Goram in training.
“But I did it at Wembley in front of 100,000 people and millions on TV when it mattered.
“I daren’t look at him after I finished celebrating because I knew he’d be fuming and he would probably have knocked my f*****g head off! It made me a bit anxious about going back to Rangers after but I decided, ‘F*** — I’ll wind ’em up anyway when I get back’.
“So when I rejoined the team in the dressing room, I stuck pictures of the goal on the walls.
“Then I got a mop which looked like Colin Hendry’s head, flicked a ball over it and volleyed it straight at Andy.
Marcus Rashford has already shown he has pace and power and is lethal up front, says PaulCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
“He went off his f*****g head and had to be held off me. He said, ‘If you ever do that again, I’ll knock you out’.”
Now it’s the turn of a new generation of stars to make the headlines. Gazza said: “Jack Grealish is great to watch and wants the ball all the time just like I did. Phil Foden is also going to be an incredible player.
“And Marcus Rashford has already shown he has pace and power and is lethal up front.
“But, if I’m honest, I don’t think there’s one player in the England team or in the tournament who could score my greatest goal! It was a one-off.”
He went on: “It’s amazing to see so many youngsters coming through in Gareth’s squad.
“They look so strong and skilful and seem to be able to handle the pressure.
“All they have to do against the Scots is attack their opponents and play with passion. My message to them is, ‘Don’t hold back. This is your time, lads, so go for it! Go for it’.
“I’ll be watching all the games on TV on my own because I get cross when I see players who don’t celebrate in front of the fans like I did when they score.
“I’ve had my problems with drink but if we win the tournament I won’t care — I’ll be straight off the wagon and down the pub.
“There’ll never be a better excuse for the whole country to celebrate.
“And mine will be a pina colada if anyone wants to buy me one!”
HENDRY’S GOAL WOE
THE Scotland centre-half bamboozled by Gazza before the wizard’s Euro ’96 wonder-strike says he is still ribbed about it.
Colin Hendry, now 55, was left for dead when Gazza flipped the ball over his head before smashing it home.
Former Blackburn star Hendry, right, said he had only a moment to decide whether to foul Gazza and be sent off — or hold off.
He said: “I held back and the rest is history but I feel no shame about being beaten that day — despite the ribbing I’ve had since. I’m still teased about it.
“It took England’s greatest footballer to beat me by scoring the best goal of his life.” England won 2-0.
Former Scotland captain Hendry reckons England will be “too strong” today.
TARTAN ARMY IS WAY OF LIFE
By Ally Ross
HERE we go again. It’s England versus Scotland, at Wembley — a soulless place.
You set off at dawn, you’re back at four the next morning with a hole in your heart, Covid in your bloodstream and nothing to say for yourself except: “Never, EVER again.”
Sun columnist Ally Ross in London’s Trafalgar Square for the 1988 England Scotland clash
So, no, in answer to your polite question, I won’t be going to today’s game. Nor could you pay me enough to do so.
That might seem a little odd given that, as The Proclaimers’ song suggests, I have walked 500 miles and I have walked 500 more for the national football team I adore.
I’ve loved almost every step of the journey that’s taken me from Kazakhstan in the east, to Mexico in the west.
I’ve got a total of 31 Tartan Army stamps on my passport and seen countries I would never have dreamed of visiting, like Georgia, Macedonia, Lithuania (twice) and beautiful little Slovenia, where I watched our under 21s play next to a “Warning, bears” sign.
The Tartan Army marches onCredit: Getty
I’ve also woken up on railway station platforms in Switzerland, made friends for life in sleepy little Liechtenstein, made my excuses and left Amsterdam’s Banana Bar and even managed to witness the miracle of Scotland winning once or twice.
So, more than anything, during lockdown, I’ve craved following the Scotland football team again. Not just to the countries I haven’t yet visited with my friends, like Austria, Hungary and Denmark, but to some places I’ve already seen.
If Scotland were playing France, Germany, Holland, Malta, Israel, Slovakia, Poland, the Galapagos Islands or even Belgium, in a friendly tomorrow, I promise you I would be there.
Why? Because the Tartan Army is as much fun as you can have in your life, once you’ve passed the age of 40.
Add 2,000 men in kilts and other fragments of national dress to some obscure corner of Eastern Europe or Asia and you have a city that’s transformed.
The party has arrived, the beer and the stories never stop flowing and before you know it, downtown Nur-Sultan, the capital of Kazakhstan, is looking like a Tartan Rio carnival.
As anyone who does “Scotland trips” will tell you, supporting Scotland is a way of life.
That’s why I have my heart set on attending our World Cup qualifiers, in Copenhagen and Vienna, in September and even gave Monday’s horrendous game against the Czech Republic, in Glasgow, a go.
So why not Wembley? The bits I haven’t enjoyed have all been in London.
Bad timing on my part, to an extent. I was born in June 1967, just two months after Scotland famously became world champions by beating England 3-2.
I also wasn’t old enough to attend the great invasion of 1977 when the troops headed back home singing: “England one, Scotland two, nicked yer pitch and yer goalposts too.”
By the time I was of an age to attend my first “Auld Enemy” encounter (I hate that phrase) the atmosphere had turned nasty and Scottish football was on a long slow path to nowhere.
I didn’t even make this first trip to Wembley until 1986. A disappointing 2-1 defeat that, if it’s remembered at all, is remembered for Graeme Souness thumping Ray Wilkins.
Graeme Souness thumping Ray Wilkins made a disappointing 2-1 defeat more memorable in 1986Credit: Getty
The great days had long gone by then, but I got the all-night train down from Aberdeen to see us lose 1-0 in 1988 and was back again, in 1996, watching the famous Gazza goal at a Dixons showroom, in Wembley, because I couldn’t get a ticket.
Just as a stopped clock is right twice a day, you will see Scotland beat England if you wait long enough. I nearly did, in 1999, but I was ejected from the stadium, “for my own safety”, in the 37th minute, after Don Hutchison scored what would be our winning goal.
That’s partly why I won’t go back. The fact some dumb people take this particular game of football far too seriously means Wembley is not an enjoyable day out in any shape or form.
It’s also not what the Tartan Army should be all about, which is the joyful adventure of football, heading somewhere new, with friends you love and being able to say, a few years down the line: “I went to Celje once. Cracking place. There was a Hoover convention going on in the city and I saw Scotland beat Slovenia 3-0.”
So, if you don’t mind, I’ll sit out this next game.