Remembering Euro 96: Gazza’s goal, Three Lions … and penalties | Simon Burnton


ITV is replaying Euro 96 in full, allowing us to bask in the summer of Cool Britannia all over again but was it that good?

The decision of ITV to replay Euro 96 in full, starting on Monday, is fraught with risk. They say you should never meet your heroes, and the same might apply to legendary sporting events. In this case even those who lived through it first time round and remember it as the very best of times may find, on getting to know it properly and soberly, that the reality does not live up to the myth.

Somehow that summer has come to be seen as the pinnacle of Cool Britannia despite the fact that, other than the Spice Girls and the greatest singalong sporting anthem of all time (probably), the only British chart-topper was Gary Barlow. Sometimes it seems a considerable amount of gloss has been applied to our mental snapshots of that tournament. As Wayne Rooney once said, asked about that year’s England team: “It’s as if they won the tournament, the way they’re remembered.”

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