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England Postwar Lineups and Match Highlights
By Norman Giller, Football Author

Part 9:  1985-86 to 1989-90

Norman Giller, long-time football journalist and author of more than 60 football books, has generously sent us England lineups and match highlights from his recent Billy Wright biography, reviewed elsewhere on this website, and his book on England's managers, Don't Shoot the Manager (1994), with permission to reproduce them.

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No 379

Romania, Wembley, 11.9.85. Drew 1-1

Shilton   Stevens   Sansom   Reid  Wright   Fenwick  

Robson*   Hoddle1   Hateley  Lineker (Woodcock)   Waddle (Barnes J.)

Highlights: Romania's talented Gheorghe Hagi hit the woodwork twice in this World Cup qualifier before Glenn Hoddle calmed England's nerves with a beautifully constructed goal after he had run on to a free-kick from Kenny Sansom. Camataru equalised in the second-half with the England defenders standing still appealing for a handling offence that escaped the notice of the referee. England still needed two points from their last two home games to guarantee a place in the World Cup finals in Mexico.

No 380

Turkey, Wembley, 16.10.85. England won 5-0

Shilton   Stevens   Sansom  Hoddle   Fenwick  Wright  

Wilkins   Robson*1  (Steven)   Lineker3   Hateley (Woodcock)  Waddle1

Highlights: England played with bite and pace for an hour during which Gary Lineker rattled in a hat-trick and Bryan Robson and Chris Waddle got in on the scoring act against a weak Turkish defence. But they lost their momentum when Robson went off with a pulled hamstring, and though the victory confirmed England's qualification for the World Cup finals Bobby Robson was less than happy with his team's performance. England knew they were through to the quarter-finals barring freak results even before a ball was kicked thanks to a magnificent victory by Northern Ireland against Romania in Bucharest earlier in the day. Bobby Robson said: 'Knowing we were through took the edge off things, and we lacked the killer instinct. We must learn to be positive at all times.'

No 381

Northern Ireland, Wembley, 13.11.85. Drew 0-0

Shilton     Stevens   Sansom      Hoddle    Fenwick   Wright      

Bracewell   Wilkins*     Dixon   Lineker   Waddle

Highlights: Goalkeeper Pat Jennings celebrated his world record 113th cap with sensational saves that prevented Glenn Hoddle, Kerry Dixon and Gary Lineker from scoring for England. The point from the goalless game clinched a place in the World Cup finals for Northern Ireland as runners-up in the group to England, who would go to Mexico as the only undefeated European team in the qualifying matches. England argued that they should have had a penalty when defender Alan McDonald handled during a goalmouth scramble, but the referee awarded a corner-kick. Pat Jennings got a standing ovation as he came off at the final whistle, and decided to postpone his retirement so that he could finish his career in the World Cup finals.

No 382

Egypt, Cairo, 29.1.86. England won 4-0 (own goal1)

Shilton (Woods)  Stevens  Sansom  Fenwick  Wright   Steven1  (Hill)  

Wilkins*   Cowans1     Wallace1   Hateley  Lineker (Beardsley) 

Highlights: England were flattered by the 4-0 scoreline, and the Egyptians might have salvaged a draw but for the safe hands of Peter Shilton. Club calls meant that Bobby Robson was unable to field several of his World Cup players, and he gave first caps to Danny Wallace and Peter Beardsley. It was Wallace's one and only international appearance, and he marked it with a goal. Gordon Cowans and Trevor Steven were both on the scoresheet, and England were given help by an own goal.

No 383

Israel, Rammat Gan, 26.2.86. England won 2-1

Shilton (Woods)   Steven  Sansom  Hoddle  Martin  Butcher    

Robson*2   Wilkins   Beardsley  Dixon (Woodcock)  Waddle (Barnes J.)

Highlights: 'Captain Courageous' Bryan Robson, back following his hamstring injury, scored both England goals including a penalty after Israel had taken a shock early lead. His first goal was a right foot volley after fifty minutes following a perfect pass by Glenn Hoddle, and he scored the winner from the penalty spot in the closing minutes after former Liverpool player Avi Cohen had punched his header off the goal-line. It was a fitting way for Bryan Robson to celebrate his fiftieth cap.

No 384

USSR, Tbilisi, 26.3.86. England won 1-0

Shilton   Anderson  Sansom   Hoddle  Wright   Butcher

Cowans    (Hodge)   Wilkins*   Beardsley   Lineker   Waddle1 (Steven)

Highlights: The Russians missed a first-half penalty and were beaten for the first time in eighteen matches by a classic sixty-seventh strike by Chris Waddle. It was a goal created in Newcastle, with Peter Beardsley chasing a long ball to the corner by his fellow Geordie Waddle, who raced in to the middle to meet the return pass at the far post and hammer it into the net. Steve Hodge came on for the first of his twenty-four caps. Reporters who had been pouring oil on Bobby Robson suddenly started wondering aloud if he had started to put together a team capable of winning the World Cup.

No 385

Scotland, Wembley, 23.4.86. England won 2-1

Shilton  Stevens M.G.  Sansom  Hoddle1  (Reid) Watson  Butcher1    

Wilkins*   Francis T.     Hateley   Hodge  (Stevens G.A.)  Waddle

Highlights: First-half goals from Terry Butcher and Glenn Hoddle gave England the edge in a fiercely fought match for the Sir Stanley Rous Cup. Scotland got back into the game when Graeme Souness scored from the penalty spot after Terry Butcher had upended Charlie Nicholas, but the England defence held out for a confidence-boosting victory before their World Cup journey to Mexico. England had stretched their unbeaten run to nine games, and their two best players � Bryan Robson and Gary Lineker � were both set to return after injury.

No 386

Mexico, Los Angeles, 17.5.86. England won 3-0

Shilton   Anderson  Sansom  Hoddle  Fenwick  Butcher  Robson* (Stevens G.A.)

Wilkins (Steven) Hateley2 (Dixon) Beardsley1 Waddle (Barnes)

Highlights: A convincing victory over World Cup hosts Mexico in a warm-up match was spoilt by the sight of skipper Bryan Robson going off with a dislocated shoulder. Mark Hateley gave England an early 2-0 lead with two magnificent headers, and the third victory-clinching goal was Peter Beardsley's first for England. 

No 387

Canada, Burnaby, 24.5.86. England won 1-0

Shilton (Woods)   Stevens   Sansom   Hoddle   Martin  Butcher           

Wilkins* (Reid)  Hodge  Hateley1  Lineker (Beardsley)  Waddle (Barnes J.)

Highlights: Gary Lineker damaged a wrist so badly that it was feared he would miss the World Cup in this final tuning-up game before the finals. Mark Hateley scored the only goal of a scrappy game against opponents who were out of their depth, but determined not to let England get into any sort of rhythm. The Canadians had also qualified for the finals and were as keen as England for a full-blooded warm-up match, but the action was rarely better than mediocre on what was a dull, depressing, rain-hammered day.  Steve Hodge was the pick of the England players, and with luck might have had a hat-trick.

No 388

Portugal, World Cup, Monterrey, 3.6.86. England lost 1-0

Shilton  Stevens   Sansom   Hoddle      Fenwick   Butcher       

Robson* (Hodge)   Wilkins   Hateley  Lineker  Waddle (Beardsley)

Highlights: A rare defensive blunder by Kenny Sansom led to Carlos Manuel scoring the winning goal for Portugal in the second-half of a disappointing World Cup opener. Gary Lineker played with his sprained wrist strapped, and Bryan Robson came off after seventy-five minutes to protect his shoulder. England created enough chances to have won the match comfortably, but they lacked finishing finesse. 'A shocking start,' admitted a grim-faced Bobby Robson, knowing that the vultures were ready to swoop at the first opportunity.

No 389

Morocco, World Cup, Monterrey, 6.6.86. Drew 0-0

Shilton    Stevens   Sansom   Hoddle     Fenwick   Butcher       

Robson*   (Hodge)   Wilkins   Hateley (Stevens G.A.)  Lineker  Waddle

Highlights: England's World Cup turned into a nightmare in the space of five minutes just before half-time when first Bryan Robson was taken off with a recurrence of his shoulder injury, and then acting captain Ray Wilkins was sent off for throwing the ball at the referee in protest at an off-side decision. The ten men of England battled with enormous energy and spirit in the second-half and could feel satisfied with their point. Temperatures on the pitch soared above 100 degrees, and players on both sides were reduced to walking pace. The ten men of England played boldly and bravely, and the defence - with Terry Butcher like a colossus - stifled any hopes the Moroccans had of making capital of their extra man.

No 390

Poland, World Cup, Monterrey, 11.6.86. England won 3-0

Shilton*   Stevens   Sansom      Hoddle    Fenwick   Butcher    

Steven  Reid  Lineker3 (Dixon)   Beardsley (Waddle)   Hodge

Highlights: Gary Lineker scored all three goals in the first-half to put England on the way to an exhilarating victory and into the second round of the World Cup finals. Bobby Robson was forced to make changes - both tactical and in personnel - because of injuries and the Ray Wilkins suspension, and Lineker looked more comfortable playing in a 4-2-4 formation. 'People can say what they like about me,' said a triumphant Bobby Robson, 'but never ever accuse my players of lacking character. This was a phenomenal performance given the pressure they were under. Phenomenal!'

No 391

Paraguay, World Cup, ciudad de México, 18.6.86. England won 3-0

Shilton*   Stevens   Sansom      Hoddle    Martin   Butcher       

Steven  Reid (Stevens G.A.)  Lineker2   Beardsley1 (Hateley)  Hodge

Highlights: After surviving some early scares, England took command with a first-half goal by Gary Lineker.  Peter Beardsley netted the second goal while Lineker was off the pitch receiving treatment after being elbowed in the throat, and it was Lineker who clinched England's place in the quarter-finals with his fifth goal of the tournament after combining with Tottenham team-mates Glenn Hoddle and Gary Stevens. Waiting for England in the quarter-finals were Argentina and Maradona. It would be the first meeting between the two countries since the Falklands War of 1982.

No 392

Argentina, World Cup, ciudad de México, 22.6.86. England lost 2-1

Shilton*   Stevens   Sansom      Hoddle    Fenwick   Butcher    

Steven  (Barnes J.)   Reid (Waddle)  Lineker1 Beardsley  Hodge

Highlights (a longer report this time because this was one of the most eventful games in World Cup history): Watched by a crowd of 114,580 spectators in ciudad de México�s Azteca Stadium, the match was heavy with tension because of the overspill of feeling from the Falklands War. Squads of military police brandishing white batons patrolled the ground, but apart from a few isolated skirmishes the rival England and Argentine fans gave all their attention to a game that was electric with action and atmosphere.

All eyes were on Diego Maradona, who was in the form of his life and forcing good judges to reassess whether Pele really was the greatest footballer of all time. He might have been the shortest man on the field at 5ft 4in, but the chunky, wide-shouldered Argentine captain paraded across the pitch with the assured air of a giant among pygmies. England�s defenders noticeably quivered every time he took possession, which was often because he was continually demanding the ball the moment it reached the feet of any team-mate. When he had the ball on his left foot, he would glide past tackles with the ease of a Rolls-Royce overtaking a Reliant Robin; and when he did not have the ball he was still a menace because of the speed with which he ran into areas of space to make himself available for a pass.

England defender Terry Fenwick, out of the retaliate-first school of football, decided that a physical assault might be the best way to keep Maradona quiet. Wrong! All he got for his clumsy effort was a booking and a cold stare from the Master that could be interpreted as meaning that he would eventually pay for his attempted ambush. He would pick his moment to provide action to go with that look.

England might have fared better in a goalless first forty-five minutes had they been more adventurous, but they were so conscious of Maradona�s match-winning ability that they cautiously kept players back in defence. They would have been better employed supporting raids against an Argentine back line that looked vulnerable under attack.

The second-half belonged almost entirely to Maradona, and the two goals that he scored became the major talking point of the entire tournament. The first will always be remembered for its controversy �� many would say, cheating � and the second for its quite astounding quality.

Six minutes had gone of the second-half when Maradona swept the ball to the feet of Valdano, and raced into the penalty area for the return. As he made his break some England defenders were appealing for offside. But the linesman�s flag stayed down as Valdano�s centre was deflected across the face of the England goal by Steve Hodge. Goalkeeper Peter Shilton came off his line prepared to punch clear.

There seemed no way the stocky Maradona, dwarfed by the powerfully built England goalkeeper, could outjump Shilton. Spectators looked on in amazement as the ball cannoned into the net off Maradona with the airborne Shilton stretching out to thrash empty air.

All eyes in the Press box swivelled towards the action replay on the television screen for confirmation of what they thought they had just seen, and there was the instant evidence. No doubt about it, Maradona had pushed the ball into the net with his left hand.

Outraged Shilton led a posse of protesting players trying to persuade referee Ali Ben Naceur that the goal had been illegal but, from the angle that the Tunisian saw it, Maradona appeared to have scored with his head. He pointed to the centre-circle and the little man from Buenos Aires went on a dance of celebration that should have been a skulk of shame.

Four minutes later, with the aggrieved England players trying to regain their composure, the Jeykll and Hyde character that was Maradona unveiled the genius in his game. He produced the sort of magic that had prompted Napoli to buy him from Barcelona for a world record �6.9 million in 1984.

To say he ran rings round England would be too simple a description of a goal that stands comparison with the very best scored anywhere and at any time. Indeed, it was voted Goal of the Century in 1999.

Running with the ball at his feet from close to the halfway line, Maradona drew England defenders to him like a spider luring its prey. Kenny Sansom, Terry Butcher and then Terry Fenwick - he who tried a physical assault in the first half - all came into the Maradona web and were left in a tangle behind him as he accelerated past their attempted tackles.

Again, it was Maradona versus Shilton, this time on the ground. Maradona did not have to cheat his way past the England goalkeeper. He sold him an outrageous dummy that left Shilton scrambling for a shot that was never made, and then nonchalantly prodded the ball into the empty net for a goal of breathtaking beauty. It was a moment of magnificence that sweetened the sour taste left by Maradona�s first goal. Well, almost.

England, to their credit, battled back and substitute John Barnes laid on a goal for the razor-sharp Lineker in the eightieth minute (making Gary the tournament's top marksman with six goals). But it was Argentina who went through to the semi-finals.

As they walked exhausted off the bakehouse of a pitch after their 2-1 defeat, the England players - led by Shilton - found the energy to continue their complaints to the referee about the first Maradona goal. But most of the capacity crowd were talking only about his second goal as they filed out of the ground at the end of an eventful quarter-final that would always be remembered as 'Maradona�s match.'

The little man had a mix between a smile and a smirk on his face as he said later: 'Yes, the ball did go into the England net off my hand. It was the hand of God. It was not deliberate and so I do not in any way feel guilty claiming it as a goal. Would an England player have gone to the referee and said, "Don�t award the goal. The ball hit my hand?" Of course not. Anyway, why all the controversy? Surely my second goal ended all arguments.'

Bobby Robson summed up the feelings of most England followers when he said: 'There is no room in football for cheating. Maradona is a magnificent footballer, but he should be thoroughly ashamed of himself. Yes, his second goal was a thing of wonder, but that should have counted as Argentina's first goal.'

No 393

Sweden, Stockholm, 10.9.86. England lost 1-0

Shilton*  Anderson   Sansom    Hoddle Martin  Butcher          

Steven  Wilkins  Hodge   Dixon  Barnes J. (Cottee)

Highlights: It took a fiftieth minute goal from Sweden's ace striker Johnny Ekstrom to wake up England, and they raised their game but were unable to translate their dominance into goals. Tony Cottee, substituting for injured John Barnes seven minutes after Sweden took the lead, went on to win seven caps but was not on the pitch for the full ninety minutes in any of the matches. Predictably, there were calls for Bobby Robson's head by a section of the media who had turned England manager-baiting into a national sport.

No 394

Northern Ireland, Wembley, 15.10.86. England won 3-0

Shilton    Anderson   Sansom    Hoddle   Watson  Butcher        

Robson*  Hodge   Beardsley (Cottee)   Lineker2  Waddle1

Highlights: In his first international since the World Cup, Barcelona-based Gary Lineker was quickly back to his scoring form with two goals that helped lift England to victory over Northern Ireland in this opening European championship qualifying match. He scored his first goal in the thirty-third minute against a spirited Northern Ireland team that often had the England defence at full stretch.  It was not until two goals in two minutes in the closing stages, first by Chris Waddle and then Lineker, that England could feel confident they had overcome the Irish challenge. Lineker considered his match-clinching goal among the  best he ever scored for England. He ran on to a perfect through ball from Peter Beardsley and outpaced defender John McClelland before chipping the ball into the net from a tight angle while in full stride.

No 395

Yugoslavia, Wembley, 12.11.86. England won 2-0

Woods   Anderson1   Sansom   Hoddle   Wright  Butcher*     

Mabbutt1   Hodge (Wilkins)   Beardsley   Lineker  Waddle (Steven)

Highlights: Gary Mabbutt celebrated his recall after three years by giving England the lead in the twenty-first minute of this European championship qualifier. It was his Tottenham team-mate Glenn Hoddle who monopolised the match from midfield, and  he created enough chances for England to have sewn up the match long before Viv Anderson scored the second goal in the fifty-seventh minute.  Terry Butcher captained England for the first time, and Ray Wilkins came on as a second-half substitute for his eighty-fourth and final appearance for England. It had been a distinguished international career, scarred only by his loss of temper in the World Cup in Mexico when he threw he ball at the referee and got his marching orders. 'The worst moment of my career,' he said later. 'I had always been proud of my self control, but this time I just lost it.'

No 396

Spain, Madrid, 18.2.87. England won 4-2

Shilton (Woods)   Anderson  Sansom  Hoddle   Adams  Butcher          

Robson*   Hodge   Beardsley    Lineker4  Waddle (Steven)

Highlights: Gary Lineker made it a memorable fifty-fourth birthday for manager Bobby Robson when he scored all four goals against Spain in a dynamic display of finishing in atrocious, mud-caked conditions in the Bernebeu Stadium. Three weeks earlier he had scored a hat-trick for Barcelona against Real Madrid, and now the combined might of those club defences crumbled before him as he pounced for two goals in each half after Spain had taken an early lead. He headed the first, poached the second and third from close range and powered the fourth from the edge of the penalty area after running on to a pass by his favourite partner Peter Beardsley. Tony Adams, twenty-year-old Arsenal centre-half, became the first player born after the 1966 World Cup triumph to be capped by England.

No 397

Northern Ireland, Belfast, 1.4.87. England won 2-0

Shilton (Woods)  Anderson  Sansom  Mabbutt   Wright  Butcher         

Robson*1   Hodge  Beardsley   Lineker  Waddle1

Highlights: Bryan Robson put his injury problems behind him and returned to the England team with a typically inspiring performance in this European championship qualifier. He headed the first goal in the nineteenth minute, and Chris Waddle gave England a comfortable two-goal cushion when he scored two minutes before half-time. Chris Woods took over from injured Peter Shilton in the forty-sixth minute.  Terry Butcher, winning his fiftieth cap, was a tower of strength in the middle of the England defence alongside Mark Wright.

No 398

Turkey, Izmir, 29.4.87. Drew 0-0

Woods    Anderson  Sansom  Mabbutt  Adams  Hoddle          

Robson*   Hodge (Barnes J.)   Allen C. (Hateley)  Lineker  Waddle

Highlights: Two days before being named Footballer of the Year after his 49 goals for Tottenham, Clive Allen was celebrating what he thought was his first goal for England against Turkey in this European championship qualifier. But the referee disallowed it, and there was a further disappointment for him in his first international match for three years when he was substituted by Mark Hateley. England had expected a shoal of goals, but were unable to find the target against a disciplined Turkish defence. A swirling wind made ball control difficult, and the game came bogged down in midfield as the players struggled to come to terms with the aggravating conditions.

No 399

Brazil, Wembley, 19.5.87. Drew 1-1

Shilton   Stevens  Pearce  Reid  Adams  Butcher          

Robson*   Waddle  Beardsley  Lineker1 (Hateley) Barnes J.

Highlights: A diving header by Gary Lineker gave England a first-half lead against a young, experimental Brazilian team that showed flourishes of the skilful football that would have pleased their ancestors. It was Lineker's nineteenth goal in twenty matches, but this did not save him from being substituted by Mark Hateley as Bobby Robson attempted to expose Brazil's weakness in the air. Marindinha, later of Newcastle, scored Brazil's deserved equaliser in an exciting Rous Cup match. Stuart Pearce made his international bow at left-back for the first of his seventy-eight caps.

No 400

Scotland, Hampden Park, 23.5.87. Drew 0-0

Woods   Stevens   Pearce  Hoddle       Wright  Butcher           

Robson*   Hodge   Hateley   Beardsley  Waddle

Highlights: Defences dominated in a drab goalless draw in which both teams wasted  scoring chances. Veteran press box observers could not remember an auld enemy match so lacking in passion and and excitement. The topic became the old chestnut of whether there was too much football, leaving players jaded at the end of the season. Brazil beat Scotland 2-0 on the same Hampden Park pitch three days later to take the Rous Cup.

No 401

West Germany, Dusseldorf, 9.9.87. England lost 3-1

Shilton*  Anderson (Pearce)  Sansom  Hoddle (Webb)  Adams  Mabbutt        

Reid   Barnes J.   Beardsley   Lineker1  Waddle (Hateley)

Highlights: England never recovered after going two goals down in the first half hour. Gary Lineker pulled one back before half-time, but Littbarski was again a thorn in England's side and his second goal of the match clinched a convincing victory for the Germans. Neil Webb became the 1000th player to be capped by England when coming on as substitute for Glenn Hoddle in the sixty-fourth minute. 'You cannot give a team like West Germany a two-goal start and hope to win,' was the after-match appraisal from Bobby Robson, who came in for the anticipated criticism from the 'Robson-must-go' campaigners.

No 402

Turkey, Wembley, 14.10.87. England won 8-0

Shilton  Stevens  Sansom  Steven (Hoddle)  Adams Butcher     

Robson*1  Webb1   Beardsley1 (Regis)  Lineker3 Barnes J.2

Highlights: England were two goals up in eight minutes through John Barnes and Gary Lineker, and both players added a goal each before half-time on a rain-saturated Wembley pitch. Bryan Robson deflected a Neil Webb shot into the Turkish net to make it 5-0 and Peter Beardsley headed the sixth goal before Lineker completed his fourth international hat-trick in the seventy-first minute. It was Webb, playing in his first full international, who completed the massacre with a rasping volley as England moved to the top of their European championship qualifying table.

No 403

Yugoslavia, Belgrade, 11.11.87. England won 4-1

Shilton  Stevens  Sansom  Steven  Adams1  Butcher    

Robson*1  (Reid)  Webb (Hoddle)  Beardsley1   Lineker  Barnes J.1

Highlights: England won the match and clinched a place in the European championship finals with a dazzling first-half display that produced goals in the opening twenty-five minutes from Peter Beardsley, John Barnes, Bryan Robson and Tony Adams. The Yugoslavs could not cope with the pace and power of the England attack, and were forced to pull attacking players back in a bid to shore up their beleaguered defence. England were coasting to victory when Katanec scored a consolation goal in the eightieth minute. Bobby Robson summed up the performance when he said: 'I am proud to have a long association with England going back to my playing days, and I cannot recall a more emphatic first-half display overseas. We looked unbeatable in that opening half hour.'

No 404

Israel, Tel Aviv, 17.2.88. Drew 0-0

Woods  Stevens  Pearce  Webb  Watson  Wright (Fenwick)    

McMahon   Allen (Harford)  Beardsley* Barnes J. Waddle

Highlights: Steve McMahon and Mick Harford won their first caps in a match that was in danger of being called off as driving rain turned the ground into a quagmire. The waterlogged pitch made decent football an impossibility, and the game developed into farce. Peter Beardsley was made captain in place of the absent Bryan Robson.  Stuart Pearce went closest to breaking the deadlock with a fizzing left foot shot from fifteen yards that was hacked off the Israel goal-line with the goalkeeper beaten.

No 405

Holland, Wembley, 23.3.88. Drew 2-2

Shilton   Stevens   Sansom   Steven   Adams1  Watson (Wright)          

Robson*   Webb (Hoddle)  Beardsley (Hateley)  Lineker1       Barnes J.

Highlights: Gary Lineker scored his twenty-fourth goal in twenty-four games to give England a fourteenth minute lead, sliding the ball past the advancing Dutch goalkeeper after controlling a thirty-yard pass from Gary Stevens. Ruud Gullit was the inspiration behind a Dutch fight back and they equalised when a cross hit Tony Adams and deflected into the England net. A sparkling Gullit run made the opening for Bosman to give Holland a half-time lead that was cancelled out when Adams made amends for his own goal by heading in a Trevor Steven free-kick. England and Holland were drawn in the same group for the upcoming European championship finals, and the coaching staff on each bench were furiously making notes for future reference.

No 406

Hungary, Budapest, 27.4.88. Drew 0-0

Woods   Anderson  Pearce (Stevens)   Steven   Adams  Pallister          

Robson*   McMahon  Beardsley (Hateley)  Lineker (Cottee) Waddle (Hoddle)

Highlights: Gary Pallister, stepping up from Second Division football with Middlesbrough, made an excellent debut alongside Tony Adams in an England defence that coped well with a Hungarian attack that promised much more than it finally produced. For goalkeeper Chris Woods, the understudy to Peter Shilton, it was a sixth successive full game in which he had not conceded a goal. Bobby Robson made it clear before hand that he would be experimenting with the European championships in mind, and he replaced Beardsley, Lineker and Waddle with Hateley, Cottee and Hoddle in search of a back-up attacking formation. There was little to encourage Robson that he had found the right blend.

No 407

Scotland, Wembley, 21.5.88. England won 1-0

Shilton  Stevens  Sansom Webb  Adams  Watson

Robson*   Steven (Waddle)  Beardsley1   Lineker  Barnes J.

Highlights: This 107th match between England and Scotland and the first staged on a Saturday for seven years was spoiled by crowd trouble outside the ground that led to over two hundred arrests. The high spot on the pitch was a beautifully created first-half goal by Peter Beardsley that was enough to give England victory in this Rous Cup match, which was again a triangular tournament with Colombia the overseas guests. England were far and away the better team, and Jim Leighton pulled off a procession of brilliant saves to prove that Scottish goalkeepers were not as bad as myth suggested.

No 408

Colombia, Wembley, 24.5.88. Drew 1-1

Shilton  Anderson  Sansom  McMahon Adams  Wright  Robson*        

Waddle (Hoddle)  Beardsley (Hateley)  Lineker1 Barnes J.

Highlights: Gary Lineker's flicked header from a Chris Waddle right wing cross went in off a post to give England the lead after twenty-three minutes in this Rous Cup match. The Colombians were forced to abandon their dour defensive tactics, and the orange-haired Carlos Valderrama started to treat the crowd to his bag of tricks.  Escobar equalised for Colombia in the sixty-sixth minute with a header that went into the net off the underside of the bar following a corner-kick, but it was not enough to stop England skipper Bryan Robson collecting the Rous Cup. The crowd were entertained by the antics of goalkeeper Higuita, who played as a sweeper and often came out of the penalty area to pay the ball with his feet. It was just a warm-up for his most eccentric trick that would be saved for his next visit to the Wembley ground that the Colombians described as The Cathedral of football.

No 409

Switzerland, Lausanne, 28.5.88. England won 1-0

Shilton (Woods)   Stevens  Sansom      Webb  Adams (Watson) Wright          

Robson* (Reid)  Steven (Waddle)  Beardsley  Lineker1 Barnes J.

Highlights: A superbly struck second-half goal by Gary Lineker gave England a well merited victory over a disciplined Swiss team in a final warm-up match before the European championship finals. Peter Shilton hardly had a shot to save in the first-half before making way for substitute Chris Woods, who was a little busier but yet again kept a clean sheet. Lineker's goal was set up for him in the fifty-ninth minute by clever combination work between Bryan Robson and Peter Beardsley, with Lineker reading the situation perfectly to be in the right place at the right time to sweep the ball into the net.

No 410

Republic of Ireland, Stuttgart, 12.6.88. England lost 1-0

Shilton  Stevens  Sansom  Webb (Hoddle)  Adams  Wright

Robson*   Waddle   Beardsley (Hateley)  Lineker  Barnes J.

Highlights: Jack Charlton's 25-1 outsiders took a shock sixth minute lead through Ray Houghton and then defied all attempts by England to save this opening game in the European championship finals. England put too much responsibility on the shoulders of Gary Lineker, who took a buffeting as he missed a hat-trick of chances before goalkeeper Paddy Bonner produced a miracle save to stop him snatching a late equaliser. It was a tactical triumph for Jack Charlton, who employed Ray Houghton and Tony Galvin as nuisance-makers in midfield, crowding out England's engine room so that it was unable to function properly. It was not pretty, but it was effective. 'You have to have the ball to be able to play with it,' Charlton explained. 'We decided not to let England have it. Simple as that.'

No 411

Holland, Dusseldorf, 15.6.88. England lost 3-1

Shilton  Stevens  Sansom  Hoddle   Adams  Wright      

Robson*1  Steven (Waddle)  Beardsley (Hateley)  Lineker       Barnes J.

Highlights: Marco Van Basten chose this European championship match to reveal to the world that he had developed into one of the great strikers of modern times. He powered Holland into the lead a minute before half-time, and then returned to the scoring stage after Bryan Robson had given England brief hope with a fifty-fourth minute equaliser. As Ruud Gullit pulled the English defence inside out with his clever running and precise passing, Van Basten decided the match with two goals in four minutes to complete a devastating hat-trick and ruin Peter Shilton's 100th international appearance. While desperately disappointed, Bobby Robson had to hold up his hands and admit England had been beaten by a superior side. 'World class,' was his brief but accurate decision to Van Basten.

No 412

USSR, Frankfurt, 18.6.88. England lost 3-1

Woods  Stevens  Sansom  Hoddle   Adams1  Watson 

Robson*  Steven   Lineker (Hateley)  McMahon (Webb)  Barnes J.

Highlights: The Russians rushed into a third minute lead and compounded England's misery by handing them their third successive victory in the European championship tournament.  A Tony Adams goal pulled England level in the fifteenth minute, but the Russians regained the lead thirteen minutes later and wrapped up the game with a third goal thirteen minutes from the final whistle. Gary Lineker's lethargic performances were more easily understood when it was diagnosed that he was suffering from hepatitis. Bobby Robson survived another campaign by the tabloid press for his head. Questions were even asked in the House by MPs who felt new leadership was the answer to England's problems.

No 413

Denmark, Wembley, 14.9.88. England won 1-0

Shilton (Woods)  Stevens Pearce    Rocastle  Adams (Walker)  Butcher  Robson* 

Webb1  Harford (Cottee)  Beardsley (Gascoigne)  Hodge

Highlights: England's supporters voted against England with their feet and a crowd of only 25,837 turned up at Wembley to see England beat Denmark thanks to a twenty-eighth minute goal by Neil Webb. David Rocastle started his first match for England, and there were two substitutes who would play a big part in England's future - Des Walker after sixty-five minutes and then, with just five minutes to go, a beefy young Geordie called Paul Gascoigne.  Only a remarkable recovery tackle by Tony Adams late in the game prevented Michael Laudrup from snatching an equalizer that the Danes deserved.

No 414

Sweden, Wembley, 19.10.88. Drew 0-0

Shilton   Stevens  Pearce  Webb  Adams (Walker)  Butcher     

Robson*   Beardsley    Waddle  Lineker  Barnes J. (Cottee)

Highlights: There was a tame start to England's 1990 World Cup campaign when they  were held to a goalless draw by a Swedish side that came with the main objective of not getting beaten. England's forwards were all out of touch in front of goal, and even a barnstorming display by skipper Bryan Robson failed to give them the key to victory. Goalkeeper Peter Shilton was unemployed for long periods, but proved an unbeatable barrier when the Swedes suddenly stepped up the pace in the second-half  and threatened to dismantle the previously sound England defence. The clamour for Bobby Robson to be sacked was given new impetus. 'In the name of God go!' pleaded one headline, lifting the famous historical quote from Oliver Cromwell.

No 415

Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, 16.11.88. Drew 1-1

Seaman  Sterland  Pearce  Thomas (Gascoigne)  Adams1         Pallister           

Robson* Rocastle  Beardsley (Smith)   Lineker Waddle (Marwood)

Highlights: It took a fifty-fourth minute equaliser from Tony Adams to save England from the embarrassment of defeat in a match that many considered was an unnecessary fixture in England's international calendar. Sheffield Wednesday right-back Mel Sterland won his one and only England cap, and Brian Marwood's England career lasted just nine minutes when he followed Arsenal clubmate Alan Smith on as a substitute to bring the Highbury contingent to five players including goalkeeper David Seaman. The result inspired another anti-Robson headline: 'In the name of Allah go!'

No 416

Greece, Athens, 8.2.89. England won 2-1

Shilton  Stevens  Pearce  Webb  Walker  Butcher�

Robson*1   Rocastle Smith (Beardsley)  Lineker Barnes J.1

Highlights: England were shaken by a second minute penalty goal, but cancelled it out seven minutes later when John Barnes guided the ball into the net. It took more than an hour for England to find anything approaching fluency, and then they started to pound away at the Greek defence until the inevitable goal came from Bryan Robson in the seventy-ninth minute. England had clearly lost their pulling power overseas. There were just 6,000 spectators in the huge Olympic Stadium. Robson's goal was a collector's item, a magnificent volley after Lineker had neatly nodded a John Barnes cross into his path.

No 417

Albania, Tiranë, 8.3.89. England won 2-0

Shilton  Stevens  Pearce  Webb  Walker  Butcher        

Robson*1   Rocastle  Waddle (Beardsley)  Lineker (Smith)  Barnes J.1

Highlights: A toothless Albanian team failed to trouble Peter Shilton in a World Cup qualifying match that was strangely lacking in passion. England won comfortably enough with a goal in each half by John Barnes and Bryan Robson, but the talk was more of the missed chances and a seventh successive blank match for Gary Lineker. In his fiftieth game as England captain, Bryan Robson was in his usual non-stop motivating mode. It is safe to say that no England captain had ever covered as much ground after fifty games as skipper.

No 418

Albania, Wembley, 26.4.89. England won 5-0

Shilton    Stevens  (Parker)  Pearce   Webb       Walker Butcher          

Robson*   Rocastle (Gascoigne1)   Beardsley2  Lineker1 Waddle1

Highlights: Gary Lineker ended a goal famine that had lasted nearly a year when he headed past the seventeen-year-old Albanian goalkeeper in the fifth minute of this return World Cup qualifier. It was Lineker who laid on the second and third goals for his usual provider Peter Beardsley. Then substitute Paul Gascoigne lit up the international stage by setting up a goal for his fellow Geordie Chris Waddle before conjuring a magical goal of his own in the eighty-eight minute, ghosting past two defenders and then firing a low shot into the far corner of the net. It was a taste of things to come.

No 419

Chile, Wembley, 23.5.89. Drew 0-0

Shilton  Parker  Pearce   Webb  Walker  Butcher 

Robson*   Gascoigne  Clough  Fashanu (Cottee) Waddle

Highlights: An experimental England team featuring new caps Nigel Clough and John Fashanu struggled to break down a resolute Chilean defence. There was a graveyard atmosphere at Wembley for this Rous Cup match, with a tube train strike helping to keep the attendance down to an all-time low for an England international at Wembley of just 15,628. Fashanu, the first Wimbledon player to be capped by England, limped off after seventy minutes. His only other England appearance would last just thirty minutes.  Nigel Clough's call up completed the first father-and-son double act -following his two-cap dad, Brian - since George Eastham followed George senior into the England team. Paul Parker played his first full game.

No 420

Scotland, Hampden Park, 27.5.89. England won 2-0

Shilton   Stevens  Pearce  Webb  Walker  Butcher       

Robson*    Steven  Fashanu (Bull1)      Cottee (Gascoigne)  Waddle1

Highlights: Substitutes Steve Bull and Paul Gascoigne had double reason for celebrations as England powered to a 2-0 victory in this Rous Cup match. Pride of Wolves Bull, the first Third Division player capped since Peter Taylor in 1976, marked his debut with an eightieth minute goal to add to Chris Waddle's twentieth minute strike. Gascoigne  came on two minutes before Bull's goal on what was his twenty-second birthday.  England were flattered by the final scoreline against a lively Scottish team that missed a succession of scoring chances from close range.

No 421

Poland, Wembley, 3.6.89. England won 3-0

Shilton  Stevens  Pearce  Webb1  Walker  Butcher 

Robson*  Waddle (Rocastle)  Beardsley (Smith)  Lineker1 Barnes J.1

Highlights: Gary Lineker was in exceptional form, scoring the first goal in the twenty-fourth minute and helping to set up vital goals for John Barnes and Neil Webb in the sixty-ninth and eighty-second minutes. Lineker would have opened the scoring early in this World Cup qualifier but for a cynical foul by the goalkeeper as the England striker prepared to shoot into a gaping net. In today's game, the goalkeeper would have certainly been sent for an early bath. Peter Shilton equaled Bobby Moore's record collection of 108 England caps in what was his 1200th first-class match.

No 422

Denmark, Copenhagen, 7.6.89. Drew 1-1

Shilton (Seaman)   Parker   Pearce  Webb (McMahon)  Walker  Butcher 

Robson*  Rocastle  Beardsley (Bull)  Lineker1 Barnes J. (Waddle)

Highlights: Gary Lineker fired England into the lead in the twenty-ninth minute in a match staged to celebrate 100 years of Danish football. Denmark equalised early in the second-half, the first goal conceded by Peter Shilton in six matches as he set a new England caps record in his 109th appearance before making way for David Seaman as both managers made the agreed maximum of four substitutions.

No 423

Sweden, Stockholm, 6.9.89. Drew 0-0

Shilton  Stevens  Pearce  Webb (Gascoigne)  Walker  Butcher*           

Beardsley  McMahon   Waddle  Lineker  Barnes J. (Rocastle)

Highlights: England's second goalless draw with Sweden virtually clinched their place in the 1990 World Cup finals. Skipper Terry Bucher was England's bloody hero. He insisted on playing on after having ten stitches inserted into a deep gash on his forehead during the half-time interval. It was a sad game for Neil Webb who limped off with an Achilles tendon injury that put him on the sidelines for several months. Bobby Robson, who had introduced Terry Butcher to professional football when manager at Ipswich, said: 'Terry's performance epitomised what he is all about. The boy is all heart and character, and he is as good a central defender as there is in the game. I have known him since he was a kid and he has never ever given less than one hundred per cent.'

No 424

Poland, Katowice, 11.10.89. Drew 0-0

Shilton  Stevens  Pearce  McMahon  Walker  Butcher  

Robson*  Rocastle  Beardsley  Lineker  Waddle

Highlights: Almost sixteen years to the day England had drawn with Poland at Wembley in a World Cup match in which only a victory would do. Peter Shilton had been in goal then, and here he was again at the age of forty playing to the peak of his ability as England battled for the point that would guarantee their place in the World Cup finals. Shilton was beaten only once when a thirty-yard shot rattled his crossbar in the last minute. Thanks largely to Shilts, England had completed their six-match qualifying programme without conceding a single goal. The press were off Bobby Reobson's back. He had again guided England to the World Cup finals. 'I have ignored all the flak,' Robson said, 'but I just wish the people writing the rubbish would stop and think for a second what effect it has on those nearest and dearest to the person being vilified. What I have found unforgivable is the intrusions into my private life and stories that are rarely substantiated by any facts.' Robson was referring to articles linking him with extra-marital affairs, allegations that hurt him much more than the headlines calling for his dismissal.

No 425

Italy, Wembley, 15.11.89. Drew 0-0

Shilton (Beasant) Stevens  Pearce (Winterburn)  McMahon (Hodge) Walker 

Butcher Robson* (Phelan) Waddle Beardsley (Platt)  Lineker Barnes J.

Highlights: England stretched their unbeaten run to thirteen matches and nine hours without conceding a goal against the 1990 World Cup hosts and tournament favourites. Bobby Robson experimented by sending on four new caps as second-half substitutes - Dave Beasant, Nigel Winterburn, Mike Phelan and David Platt. Phelan went closest to breaking the scoring deadlock with a thirty-yard volley from a punched clearance by goalkeeper Zenga. The ball missed the target by inches in what was Phelan's only international appearance. Gary Lineker had the ball in the Italian net late in the game, only to have his celebrations cut short because the referee had spotted an obstruction by Terry Butcher a split second before Linker netted. The partnership between Des Walker and Terry Butcher at the heart of the England defence was looking impregnable, and as solid as the 1960s one between Jack Charlton and Bobby Moore.

No 426

Yugoslavia, Wembley, 13.12.89. England won 2-1

Shilton (Beasant)  Parker  Pearce (Dorigo) Thomas (Platt)   Walker  Butcher

Robson*2  (McMahon)  Rocastle (Hodge) Bull  Lineker  Waddle

Highlights: Bryan Robson scored the fastest England goal ever witnessed at Wembley when he headed in a Chris Waddle free-kick after just thirty-eight seconds. It ended more than five hours' of goalless football by England and set up what was their 100th win at Wembley. Skoro equalised for Yugoslavia with a snap shot in a rare attack in the seventeenth minute, and it was Robson who struck the winning goal in the sixty-seventh minute after Paul Parker had made an enterprising break down the right wing. Bobby Robson continued his experiments, sending on Dave Beasant, Tony Dorigo, David Platt, Steve McMahon and Steve Hodge as substitutes, the first time England had ever sent on five subs. 

No 427

Brazil, Wembley, 28.3.90. England won 1-0

Shilton (Woods)  Stevens  Pearce         McMahon        Walker  Butcher*        

Platt   Waddle   Beardsley (Gascoigne)   Lineker1  Barnes J.

Highlights: This was billed as an unofficial World championship because both teams were undefeated in their last fourteen international matches. The game was settled by Gary Lineker nine minutes before half-time when he headed in his thirtieth England goal after John Barnes had flicked on a Peter Beardsley corner from the left. It was England's first home victory against Brazil for thirty-four years. Shilton had to go off for stitches after Des Walker's elbow had hit him in the face, and Chris Woods took over in goal. Muller claimed the ball was over the line when Stuart Pearce made a goalmouth clearance in the sixty-sixth minute. The 80,000 all-seater crowd were brought to their feet at the end to give England a standing ovation for an excellent performance against the favourites for the World Cup just three months away.

No 428

Czechoslovakia, Wembley, 25.4.90. England won 4-2

Shilton (Seaman)  Dixon  Pearce1 (Dorigo)  Steven  Walker (Wright)  Butcher

Robson* (McMahon)  Gascoigne1  Bull2   Lineker  Hodge

Highlights: Paul Gascoigne took hold of this game by the scruff of the neck and showed what an exciting prospect he was after the Czechs had startled England by taking an early lead. Gazza laid on two goals for Steve Bull, another for Stuart Pearce and then in the final moments added a fourth goal himself with a thumping left foot shot into the roof of the net. Bobby Robson knew that he had a shining diamond of a player in Gazza, but a diamond with a flaw. He said of his fellow Geordie, 'The lad is a brilliant footballer but as daft as a brush.' Gazza was to give many examples to support the description.

No 429

Denmark, Wembley, 15.5.90. England won 1-0

Shilton (Woods) Stevens Pearce (Dorigo) McMahon (Platt) Walker Butcher*  

Hodge  Gascoigne Waddle (Rocastle)  Lineker1  (Bull) Barnes J.

Highlights: A draw would have been a fairer reflection of the play as England stretched their unbeaten run to seventeen internationals. England survived half a dozen scares before Gary Lineker scored the match winner in the fifty-fourth minute when he rammed a Steve Hodge centre into the net off the bar. It was pointed out that England's unbeaten run was now only three less than the one put together by Sir Alf Ramsey's team on the way to the 1966 World Cup finals, and there was a growing feeling that Bobby Robson could emulate Ramsey, who like Robson had used the Ipswich manager's job as a stepping stone to the England hot seat.

No 430

Uruguay, Wembley, 22.5.90. England lost 2-1

Shilton  Parker  Pearce  Hodge (Beardsley)  Walker  Butcher  

Robson*  Gascoigne  Waddle  Lineker (Bull) Barnes J.1

Highlights: Uruguay ended England's undefeated run in what was their final Wembley match before the World Cup finals. Peter Shilton was beaten by a powerful  header in the first-half and a swerving free-kick in the second-half, the two goals sandwiching an impressive strike by John Barnes following an audacious fifty-yard pass by Paul Gascoigne. Gary Lineker got a slight knock and was replaced in what was his fiftieth international appearance by Steve Bull. It was not the ideal way to prepare for the World Cup, but Bobby Robson announced that he was happy with the overall performance. 'If the accuracy of our finishing had matched our approach work we would have won comfortably,' he said. 'The spirit in  our camp is excellent, and we go to Italy quietly confident that we can do even better than in Mexico four years ago.'

No 431

Tunisia, Tunis, 2.6.90. Drew 1-1

Shilton  Stevens  Pearce  Hodge (Beardsley)  Walker  Butcher  (Wright)          

Robson*  Waddle (Platt)   Gascoigne   Lineker (Bull1)  Barnes J.

Highlights: England's final warm-up match before the World Cup finals almost proved too hot for them. Steve Bull saved them from an unnerving defeat with a headed last-minute equaliser. Tunis had taken a shock first-half lead when Hergal accepted a miscued pass from Paul Gascoigne and astonished everybody, particularly Peter Shilton, with a volley from thirty-five yards. England looked lethargic and hardly in the mood for the World Cup challenge that lay ahead of them. 'Don't read too much into it,' said Bobby Robson. 'This was just a limbering up game. The matches that matter will be played in Italy.' Robson knew that his England reign was nearly over. He had quietly negotiated a contract back in club management with PSV Eindhoven. The English press would have a new man to kick in the shape of Graham Taylor.

No 432

Republic of Ireland, World Cup, Casteddu, 11.6.90. Drew 1-1

Shilton  Stevens Pearce  Gascoigne       Walker  Butcher

Robson*  Waddle  Beardsley (McMahon) Lineker1 (Bull) Barnes J.

Highlights:  England could not have got off to a better start to their World Cup campaign when Gary Lineker chested down a Chris Waddle pass  and then forced the ball it into the net in the eighth minute.  But it was the Irish who grew in stature and confidence as they piled on pressure with a long-ball game that was ugly to the eye but wearing on the limbs and lungs of the  overstretched England defenders.  Peter Shilton, equaling Pat Jennings' world record of 119 international caps, was beaten in the sixty-eighth minute after substitute Steve McMahon, with his first touch of the ball, lost control and watched in anguish as his Merseyside neighbour, Everton's Kevin Sheedy, whipped it off his toes and planted an instant left-foot drive into the net.  Nobody could dispute that Ireland deserved their equaliser in a game that was a poor advertisement for British football, but it was cruel luck for McMahon who in a nightmare couple of minutes also managed to get himself booked.

No 433

Holland, World Cup, Casteddu, 16.6.90. Drew 0-0

Shilton  Parker  Pearce  Wright   Walker  Butcher 

Robson*  (Platt)  Waddle (Bull)  Gascoigne  Lineker  Barnes J.

Highlights: England  produced a world-class performance using the sweeper system that Bobby Robson had virtually ignored throughout his reign as England manager. The player he chose for the sweeping job was Derby central defender Mark Wright, who was recalled for his first international since England's defeat by Holland in the European Championships. This was the match in which Paul Gascoigne came of age as an international player. He strode around the centre stage as if he owned it, and some of his forward surges and his passes were exceptional in their quality and execution. One twisting turn on the ball when he foxed two Dutch defenders in the second half was out of the Johan Cruyff school of skill. England were always that little bit sharper and hungrier for the ball, and David Platt proved himself made for the World Cup stage when he came on as substitute for injured skipper Bryan Robson.  There was a dramatic climax when Stuart Pearce drove a late free kick from out on the right wide of the Dutch defensive wall and straight into the net past diving goalkeeper Hans van Breukelen. Celebration of a winning goal was cut short when the referee made it clear that he had awarded an indirect free kick. The ball could only have missed the fingers of van Breukelen by inches. England came that close to what would have been a richly deserved win.

No 434

Egypt, World Cup, Casteddu, 21.6.90. England won 1-0

Shilton*  Parker  Pearce  Gascoigne  Walker  Wright1

McMahon  Waddle (Platt)   Bull (Beardsley)  Lineker  Barnes J.

Highlights:  Mark Wright's first goal in international football catapulted England into the second phase of World Cup '90 and slammed shut the door on an Egyptian team that got the desserts their negative approach deserved. Egypt played with just the one ambition of stopping England from scoring, and  they tried to strangle the life out of the game with aggravating time-wasting tactics. England were reduced to ten men when Wright scored his dramatic goal in the fifty-ninth minute. Des Walker was lying on the perimeter of the pitch having treatment to a leg injury when England were awarded a free kick out near the left touchline midway into Egypt's half. Paul Gascoigne floated a high kick tantalisingly into the packed Egyptian penalty area. It hung long enough in the air to tempt goalkeeper Ahmed Shubeir off his line, and he was stranded as the tall figure of Wright rose above all those around him. He connected with a glancing header and the ball flicked into the net off defender Hesham Yakan.

No 435

Belgium, World Cup, Bologna, 26.6.90. England won 1-0 (aet)

Shilton  Parker  Pearce  Wright  Walker  Butcher* 

McMahon (Platt1)  Waddle   Gascoigne  Lineker  Barnes J. (Bull)

Highlights:  David Platt stepped into this full-blooded thriller as a substitute, and with a penalty shoot-out just seconds away he scored a phenomenal first goal for England to lift them into the quarter-finals. The match was played at a furious pace until the intense heat slowed just about everybody down to an exhausted jog in extra time.  Enzo Scifo bossed the game in midfield for Belgium and he and the veteran Jan Ceulemans both smacked shots against Peter Shilton's right post. John Barnes had been  almost anonymous but  was desperately unlucky in the fortieth minute when he steered in a cross from Gary Lineker for what looked an excellent goal. A linesman ended England's celebrations by raising the off-side flag. With one minute of extra time to go Paul Gascoigne floated a free-kick deep into the penalty area. Platt watched it carefully like a plane spotter, and spun round to face the goal as the ball dropped over his shoulder. All in the same movement he volleyed it wide of the Belgian goalkeeper. It would have been rated a classic goal in any football match. In the last minute of a World Cup finals tie it must go down as one of the greatest goals ever scored for England.

No 436

Cameroon, World Cup, Naples, 1.7.90. England won 3-2 (aet)

Shilton   Parker  Pearce  Wright  Walker  Butcher* (Steven)    

Platt1   Waddle  Gascoigne   Lineker2 Barnes J. (Beardsley)

Highlights: Gary Lineker scored two goals from the penalty spot not only to put England into the World Cup semi-finals but also to rescue them from one of the most humiliating defeats in their history. The harsh truth is that for long periods Cameroon played England off the park in a dramatic duel that was draining both physically and emotionally, and only a mixture of enormous luck and true grit pulled England through. It was thirty-eight-year-old Roger Milla who wrote himself into World Cup folklore against England. The silken skills of substitute Milla were released into the match at the start of the second-half with Cameroon unlucky to be trailing 1�0 to an excellent goal that had been burgled by David Platt.  Paul Gascoigne was helping out in an overworked defence when he collided with Milla and conceded a penalty in the sixty-first minute which was converted by Emmanuel Kunde. Four minutes later Milla drew defenders towards him before threading a pass through to substitute Eugene Ekeke. He sprinted clear, and then almost casually flicked the ball into the net past Shilton. With six minutes to  go,  Gary  Lineker  spun in the penalty area and was brought down by  Thomas Libiih. Lineker himself scored from the spot to breathe life back into England. There was a fresh crisis for England when Mark Wright was cut and badly dazed as he headed the back of Milla's head. He was treated for a jagged gash on his forehead, and then bravely played on through extra time with a huge plaster protecting a wound that later needed seven stitches.  In the fourteenth minute of extra time Gascoigne pushed a perfect pass through to  Lineker, whose promising run towards goal was halted when goalkeeper Thomas Nkono pulled him down. Lineker shot his penalty on a straight line into the net. England had won a memorable match, and created history by becoming the first English team to reach a World Cup semi-final on foreign soil.

No 437

West Germany, World Cup semi-final, Turin, 4.7.90. Drew 1-1 (aet)

                          England lost 4-3 on penalties

Shilton  Parker  Pearce Wright  Walker  Butcher* (Steven)

Platt  Waddle  Gascoigne  Lineker1      Beardsley

Highlights: England saved their finest performance of World Cup '90 for this epic semi-final, but they finished up with empty hands and broken hearts as West Germany conquered them in a torturous penalty shoot-out.  A 1�1 draw after extra time was just about a fair reflection on a masterpiece of a match.  There was just one irritating incident when Thomas Berthold made a meal of a tackle by Paul Gascoigne in extra time, and Gazza was close to tears as he collected his second booking of the tournament which would have ruled him out of the final. Gascoigne had been  more prominent and productive in midfield than West German skipper Lothar Matthaus, who had been rated by many as the best player on view before this match. Peter Shilton was desperately unlucky to concede the first goal of the match in the fifty-ninth minute when Brehme's shot deflected off Parker's heel and ballooned freakishly high before coming down first bounce into the back of England's net. Lineker equalised in the eightieth minute when he hit the ball in full stride with his left foot to send it under a sliding defender and into the far corner of the net. Both Chris Waddle and Guido Buchwald hammered shots against the post during a thrilling extra-time period. Shilton elected the right way to dive for every one of the German penalties, but each time he was a fingernail's distance away from making a vital save. Lineker took the first penalty and coolly drilled it home. Brehme made it all square. Then Beardsley netted penalty number two, which was cancelled out by Matthaeus with the most ferocious spot-kick of the tournament. David Platt made it 3�2 while Paul Gascoigne looked on from the centre-circle with tears watering his eyes. Riedle brought the scores level again before Stuart Pearce took aim and fired the first blank. He was inconsolable as his low-driven spot-kick cannoned off Illgner's shins. Olaf Thon netted Germany's next penalty, meaning that Chris Waddle had to hit the target to keep alive England's hopes of reaching the final.  He had never taken a spot-kick in a major match in his career, and he produced a novice-like effort as he blazed the ball high over the bar. Germany were through to the final, but England went out with honour in a match that was a credit to the World Cup and to football in general.

No 438

Italy, World Cup third-place play-off, Bari, 7.7.90. England lost 2-1

Shilton*  Stevens  Dorigo  Parker Walker Wright (Waddle)     

Platt1   Steven  McMahon (Webb)  Lineker  Beardsley

Highlights: Bobby Robson's last match as England manager and Peter Shilton's final game as England goalkeeper ended in a defeat by Italy that was partly self-inflicted in this play-off for third place.  Shilton, captain for the night as he stretched his world-record collection of caps to 125, will remember his farewell performance for all the wrong reasons. The man who had been one of the most reliable players in the history of English football made a calamitous mistake in the seventieth minute. He had just taken possession of the ball and elected to roll it along the ground as he looked for an England player to whom he could pass it. Shilts must have been the only person in the stadium who did not see Roberto Baggio loitering alongside him. Shilton virtually placed the ball at Baggio's feet and he exchanged passes with Salvatore Schillaci before dribbling his way across the face of the England goal and scoring with a close-range shot. Ten minutes after Shilton's error the skilful, Australian-born Tony Dorigo made an enterprising run down the left wing before sending over a measured cross. David Platt, who had been making penetrating bursts into the Italian penalty area throughout the game, powered the ball into the net from twelve yards for one of the best headed goals of the whole tournament. Paul Parker was adjudged to have fouled Salvatore Schillaci when they became tangled in the penalty area in the eighty-fourth minute. Schillaci, needing one goal to become the leading marksman of World Cup '90, sent Shilton the wrong way as he drilled in  his sixth goal of the finals. England had lost, but their dignity and their pride were still intact. They had done England in general and Bobby Robson in particular proud. Could Graham Taylor go one better and reach the World Cup Final? 'I wish him luck,' said Bobby Robson. 'I just hope the press are kinder to him than they were to me.' Graham Taylor should have been warned not to hold his breath.

____________________

CG