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687 Squad vs. France
689 Squad vs. Spain

Wednesday, 17 June 1992
European Championships 1992 Finals Group One

Sweden 2 England 1 [0-1]

Match Summary
Sweden Squad
England Squad
Team Records
The Three Lions squad for the European Championship  Pre-Sweden June 1992
Player Birthdate Age Pos Club St Sub App G Capt
Barnes, John C.B. 7 November 1963 28 F Liverpool FC 54 13 67 10 0  
Barnes withdrew from the squad on 3 June because of an achilles tendon injury
19. Batty, David 2 December 1968 23 M Leeds United AFC 7 2 9 0 0  
9. Clough, Nigel H. 19 March 1966 26 M Nottingham Forest FC 2 5 7 0 0  
2. Curle, Keith 14 November 1963 28 CD Manchester City FC 2 1 3 0 0  
Curle was admitted to the squad on 5 June as a replacement for Stevens
18. Daley, Anthony M. 18 October 1967 24 F Aston Villa FC 3 3 6 0 0  
Dixon, Lee M. 17 March 1964 28 RB Arsenal FC 11 1 12 0 0  
Dixon withdrew from the squad on 25 May because of a knee injury
14. Dorigo, Anthony R. 31 December 1965 26 LB Leeds United AFC 5 5 10 0 0  
4. Keown, Martin R. 24 July 1966 25 CD Everton FC 8 0 8 1 0  
10. Lineker, Gary W. 30 November 1960 31 F Tottenham Hotspur FC 73 6 79 48 17 none
13. Martyn, A. Nigel 11 August 1966 25 G Leeds United AFC 1 1 2 0 GA 0  
16. Merson, Paul C. 20 March 1968 24 F Arsenal FC 3 3 6 1 0  
12. Palmer, Carlton L. 5 December 1965 26 M Sheffield Wednesday FC 5 1 6 0 0  
3. Pearce, Stuart 24 April 1962 30 LB Nottingham Forest FC 47 2 49 2 3  
7. Platt, David A. 10 June 1966 25 M AS Bari, Italy 24 7 31 10 0  
20. Shearer, Alan 13 August 1970 21 F Southampton FC 3 0 3 1 0 none
11. Sinton, Andrew 19 March 1966 26 M Queen's Park Rangers FC 4 1 5 0 0 none
Sinton was admitted to the squad on 5 June as a replacement for Barnes
17. Smith, Alan M. 21 November 1962 29 F Arsenal FC 7 5 12 2 0 none
8. Steven, Trevor M. 21 September 1963 28 M Olympique de Marseille, France 29 7 36 4 0  
Stevens, M. Gary 27 March 1963 29 RB Rangers FC, Scotland 40 6 46 0 0  
Stevens withdrew from the squad on 3 June because of a broken foot
5. Walker, Desmond S. 26 November 1965 26 CD Nottingham Forest FC 44 2 46 0 0  
15. Webb, Neil J. 30 July 1963 28 M Manchester United FC 20 5 25 4 0  
1. Woods, Christopher C.E. 14 November 1959 32 G Sheffield Wednesday FC 25 8 33 ? GA 0  
6. Wright, Mark 1 August 1963 28 CD Liverpool FC 39 3 42 1 1  
Wright withdrew from the squad on 7 June because of a recurring achilles tendon injury, he could not be replaced.
Adams, Tony A.     CD Arsenal FC     19 4    
UEFA declined permission for Adams to join the squad on 12 June
Seaman, David A. 19 September 1963 28 G Arsenal FC            

All information is complete to and including England's last match, the ninth of the 1991-92 season, against Finland on 3 June 1992.


Friday, 15 May 1992 - Two days before England meet Brazil at Wembley in a final home warm-up, Liverpool's Rob Jones, Taylor's expected first choice at right back, pulls out of the squad with shin splints.  The 20-year-old had made only one international appearance, against France in a February friendly, but had given a cultured performance far beyond his years.

Sunday, 17 May 1992 - England come from behind to draw with Brazil at Wembley Stadium.

Monday, 18 May 1992 - Graham Taylor announces his twenty-man squad, thirteen days ahead of the due date. The press regard midfielder David Batty and right back Lee Dixon as surprise inclusions, although Dixon, who had 12 caps, was needed to replace Jones. The most notable omissions were Chris Waddle, the 31-year-old midfield genius whose continued absence from England team selections bewildered French as well as English fans who had observed his consistently sparkling play for Olympique Marseille. Asked about Waddle at a later press conference in Sweden, Taylor replied, "I am not sure he wants to play for England anymore." Another 31-year-old, Peter Beardsley, so often the provider and creative foil for Gary Lineker, was also missing. Noteworthy, too, was the omission of Ian Wright, 28, the Arsenal striker who led all scorers in the old First Division's last season with 29 goals. Tony Adams was also omitted.
He places Andy Sinton on the standby list, because of the uncertainty surrounding John Barnes.

Monday, 25 May 1992 - Arsenal's right-back Lee Dixon joined his fellow defender Jones on the disabled list after injuring his knee in a freak accident at home, and Taylor summoned Gary Stevens as a replacement.  The Rangers defender is a veteran of the 1986 and 1990 World Cup and 1988 European Championship tournaments.

Wednesday, 3 June 1992 - England then travel to Helsinki where a 2-1 final warm-up match victory over Finland is marred by a double misfortune. Gary Stevens suffered a stress fracture of the right foot and Liverpool wing forward John Barnes, 28, a ruptured Achilles tendon.  A third right back had been lost to England, as well as the third and last England player of the day blessed with world class creative and technical skills. Taylor had to use midfielder Carlton Palmer at right back after the injury interrupted Stevens' 46th and final international appearance.  The brilliant Barnes, making his 67th appearance and also a veteran of the last three major tournaments, was irreplaceable. 

Friday, 5 June 1992 - Because the deadline for submission of squad lists to UEFA had passed, Taylor had to apply for permission to replace Stevens and Barnes with central defender Keith Curle and wide midfielder Andy Sinton. Lee Dixon has almost recovered, but Taylor has decided not to gamble on his fitness. UEFA consented to the replacements.

Sunday, 7 June 1992 - The England squad travel to Sweden without Mark Wright, who did not show up at Luton airport. Wright aggrevated an old achilles tendon injury whilst on England duty in Helsinki, unknown to Taylor and the rest of the England staff, Liverpool kept the problem under wraps for two days after Wright's return from Finland and did not notify England management until late yesterday afternoon. Taylor has applied to UEFA for permission to replace him with Adams. 

Thursday, 11 June 1992 - Mark Wright is flown to Sweden for an assessment by a UEFA medical examiner just hours before England's tournament opener against Denmark.
England draw their opening match with Denmark without any goals being scored. Taylor delayed announcing his lineup for the opener against Denmark until the last moment possible, an hour before the match, reticence which was then unusual in an England manager and which a good part of the press, denied their customary pre-match story, greeted with hostile scepticism.  The fact was that Taylor was uncertain who would be available to him and, accordingly, waited to name his team.
Injuries explain why, after extolling the virtues of a sweeper system at length at a press conference, Taylor used a flat back four against Denmark, an apparent contradiction which earned him scorn in the press.  Without Wright, who had played well when Bobby Robson suddenly decided to use him as a sweeper at the 1990 World Cup in Italy, Taylor had no player he felt comfortable deploying in that role. Injuries also explain why Taylor used central defender Keith Curle at right back, where he was terribly out of place in what must have been a confidence-shattering experience.  Having lost three right backs, Taylor had no right backs left in the squad.  He recognized the mistake; he took Curle off in favour of winger Tony Daley in the 62nd minute and had Trevor Steven, the pick of England's midfield in this match, move to right back.

Friday, 12 June 1992 - UEFA deny the request to replace Mark Wright with Tony Adams, stating that Wright's injury is not an new injury. It leaves England with only nineteen squad members, and without a recognised right-back.

Sunday, 14 June 1992 - Another scoreless draw against France means England must beat Sweden to progress to the semi-finals. Taylor dispensed with the need for a right back, switching to three central defenders and a sweeper instead of a flat back four to deal with one of Europe's most potent attacking forces.  He had used the sweeper system successfully when England beat France 2-0 in a friendly match at Wembley in February.  He shifted midfielder Carlton Palmer to sweeper, brought in David Batty to bolster central midfield and played Andy Sinton, more comfortable on the left, as a right wingback, while resting Paul Merson, who had sustained an ankle injury against Denmark. Shearer, who had performed well and scored on his debut against France in February, replaced Smith at the front.

England Form: last six games
D W D W D D f 8:a success: 67%
682 29 April 1992 - CIS 2 England 2 [1-1]
Central V.I. Lenin Stadium, Moskva (10,000/25,000)
Tskhadadze, Kirlyakov
Lineker, Steven
683 12 May 1992 - Hungary 0 England 1 [0-0]
Népstadion, Budapest
Telek OG AW
684 17 May 1992 - England 1 Brazil 1 [0-1]
Wembley Stadium, Wembley (53,428)
685 3 June 1992 - Finland 1 England 2 [1-1]
Olympiastadion, Helsinki
Hjelm (pen)
Platt (2)
686 11 June 1992 - Denmark 0 England 0 [0-0]
Malmö Stadion, Malmöt
687 14 June 1992 - France 0 England 0 [0-0]
Malmö Stadion, Malmöt


Post-Sweden - ...against Sweden, Taylor reverted to the more familiar flat back four, moving midfielder David Batty to right back and returning Palmer to midfield.  He sacrificed Steven, who had been perhaps England's most consistent player, in favour of attacking width from Daley on the right and Sinton on the left.  He played Platt well forward in support of Lineker instead of a second centre forward--a change that produced England's only goal in the tournament--and brought in Neil Webb in an effort to improve distribution in the midfield.

England scored only one goal in three matches.  The tournament was a relatively low-scoring affair at the group level.  Still, it was a sad performance from England's forwards.
Much had been expected of Gary Lineker, who had announced he would retire from international football at tournament's end and take a six-month sabbatical before joining a new club in a new league, Nagoya Grampus Eight in Japan.  He had led all scorers with six goals at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico and added another four at the 1990 World Cup in Italy to join the top all-time World Cup scorers.  And he had managed to score in each of England's three group losses at the 1988 European Championship in West Germany although he had appeared a little slow off the mark and had been, it was later found, suffering from the debilitating hepatitis B virus.  Plainly he thrived in big matches and, on his arrival in Sweden with 48 international goals, he was considered a good bet to break Bobby Charlton's England record of 49 while there.
Instead, Lineker went scoreless, and manager Graham Taylor terminated this deadliest of striker's superb England career with rude and humiliating abruptness.  With the score still 1-1 and as players, spectators and a worldwide television audience watched in disbelief, Taylor took Lineker off for substitute Alan Smith while there was still almost half an hour to go against Sweden in his 80th international match and ended any chance he had to equal Charlton's record. 
England's chances in this match--and the tournament--went with him.  The entire team appeared to wilt in the wake of this morale-sapping substitution, gave up a second goal as Sweden pressed and went out of the tournament with barely a whimper.
The justification Taylor offered the press sounded truly lame:  his 'job was to try and make sure England had a chance of reaching the semi-finals,' and he thought the substitution 'was necessary to give us a chance of qualifying' because '[i]t was not Gary's type of game and I wanted someone who could hold the ball for us up front.'  Taylor might have added that Lineker had gone six straight matches without scoring.  Yet Lineker had a proven record in scoring late goals in important matches.  He had scored the late equalizer against Germany in the 1990 World Cup semi-final, for example, and, indeed, had scored the late equalizer in the last qualifier against Poland that got England to Sweden in the first place.  Smith, on the other hand, had scored only twice in 11 appearances. 
It was a terrible blunder, the sort football fans remember for a lifetime.  Thus the chapter devoted to Taylor's tenure in the latest official F.A. history of the England team, under the insincere if not hypocritical title "Best We Forget," proceeds not only to demonstrate that Taylor's errors, and particularly the Lineker substitution, will never be forgotten by those of us who witnessed them, but to ensure that they won't be even beyond our lifetime.  To this day, the Lineker substitution is mentioned in virtually every story that mentions Taylor's England career, no matter what the news peg is.
Although Lineker's substitution was plainly a relatively inexperienced national team manager's momentary insanity borne of desperation in the most trying circumstances, the press, already sceptical at best and hostile at worst, was unforgiving and berated the hapless Taylor for the rest of his tenure.  In press eyes, he now could do nothing right.  Lineker's ending was the beginning of the end for Taylor.