Accueil Sports Paul Gascoigne’s Iconic Volley Against Scotland

Paul Gascoigne’s Iconic Volley Against Scotland

Paul GascoignePaul Gascoigne’s volley against Scotland at Euro 96 | Stu Forster/.

They don’t make footballers like Paul Gascoigne anymore.

No one plays with quite the same boyish charm, enthusiasm and imagination of the former England international.

An assortment of mesmerisingly skilful and creative players have come along since Gazza hung up his boots in 2004, but the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are almost too polished, too perfect.

Paul Gascoigne of EnglandPaul Gascoigne of EnglandYou could not take your eyes off Paul Gascoigne in full flight | Clive Brunskill/.

Gazza played with an innocence. He was imperfect. He didn’t look like a natural footballer, earnestly shuffling around the pitch. A lot of the time it didn’t even look like he knew what he was going to do next. But that’s what made him so exciting to watch. If he didn’t know what he was going to do next, how on earth were we supposed to have the faintest idea?

Nothing quite captured the essence of Gazza more than his famous goal and celebration against Scotland at Euro 96. It had his skill, his balance, his flair, his unpredictability, his fearlessness and his sense of humour.

England went into the game in need of a big result. The Three Lions were the tournament hosts, with the added pressures of being on home soil only intensified after an underwhelming draw with Switzerland in their opening group game.

The press and media attention was also spiralling into near unprecedented negative territory – even for English standards – following the squad’s drunken escapades in Hong Kong that had landed them on the front of the papers for all the wrong reasons.

The wave of mid-90s Britpop positivity was yet to seep into the England national team. Some people were still on the fence about Three Lions.

And to top it all off, England’s crucial second group game saw them pitted against the Auld Enemy.

It looked to be the same old story for the Three Lions after another sluggish first half. England introduced Jamie Redknapp at the expense of Stuart Pearce at half time with the scores all square. The change paid dividends, and Three Lions took the lead eight minutes into the second period through an Alan Shearer header. But Scotland bit back, with England forced to soak up heavy pressure from the visitors.

Scotland should have equalised from the penalty spot as the clock ticked down into the final 15 minutes, only for Gary McAllister to see his effort saved by David Seaman.

David SeamanDavid SeamanSeaman saves McAllister’s penalty | Stu Forster/.

From the resulting corner, Seaman cleared the ball to Teddy Sherringham, who fed Darren Anderton just past halfway. The Tottenham midfielder cushioned a perfectly weighted pass through to the onrushing Gascoigne – who had made a late surge from deep inside the Scotland half. The goal is sheer Gazza poetry, but it still required a gut busting run to make it happen in the first place.

Gascoigne collected the ball on the edge of the area and feigned to strike it first time with his left foot, instead instinctively lobbing the ball over Colin Hendry. The midfielder dashed around the stumbling defender and patiently waited and watched as the ball fell into his path.

Gazza watched the ball onto his right foot, before striking a low, venomous volley into the bottom corner past, arrowing past Andy Goram, with the helpless Hendry watching on his knees. Like everyone else in the stadium, he had been left at the mercy of Gazza’s genius.

Paul GascoignePaul GascoigneThe dentist chair celebration | Stu Forster/.

From the boyish exuberance and audacity of the goal, to the boyish mischief of the celebration. Gazza re-enacted the infamous dentist chair drinking antics of Hong Kong, with Alan Shearer and Steve McManaman spraying (on this occasion) water into his mouth.

This was everything that there was to love about Gazza in the space of just two touches and a celebration. The artistry, the feverish energy and the absolute cheek of it all.

As John Motson put it at the time: “Here’s Gascoigne…oh brilliant, oh yes, oh yes.”

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