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Check out Alan Shearer’s favourite England performances

| 19.10.2018

Three Lions legend reveals his top five

1996 – England 4-1 Holland – “The best performance I was involved with.”

“Our win over Holland at Euro 1996 was the best performance I was involved in with England. The atmosphere, the occasion, everything clicked into place.

It was a game we had to win following our draw with Switzerland in the first game and everybody put in a 10 out of 10 performance. Everything about it was incredible.

Even now everyone talks about THAT pass from Teddy Sheringham to me for the 3rd goal!  I certainly wouldn’t have passed if I had been in Teddy’s place.

I definitely would have taken the shot but Teddy knows that!  That summed up what Teddy was all about though. He was always great for the team and for me as an individual, a pleasure to play alongside.

2001 – Germany 1-5 England – “One of the standout England performances.”

Nobody expected England to go over to Germany and beat them in their own backyard like they did, especially after going a goal down.

To put in the performance they did, to score five with Owen, Gerrard and Heskey all scoring, simply has to be one of the stand out England performances for me.

It was an incredible performance and an unbelievable result and one that really sticks in my mind, as I’m sure it does for all England fans. 

Any time you beat one of the big footballing nations on their soil – as with Spain this week – it has to go down as a special achievement. 

1997 – Italy 0-0 England – “We out Italy-ed Italy to reach the World Cup.”

It’s very unusual to put a 0-0 draw into any list of top games but our draw in Italy prior to the 1998 World Cup is definitely in my top five.

I was out injured so Paul Ince was skipper for the night, and we went to Italy desperately needing to get a result to help us qualify for the World Cup.

The team put in an incredible performance, battling to a 0-0 draw, and eventually got us to the finals in ’98. There was a perception at the time that England couldn’t go away from home and nullify the opposition to get results, but we dug deep and got a huge point.

We out Italy-ed Italy basically that night, very special.

I was abroad having a break due to my injury and I remember listening to the game on the radio as I couldn’t get it anywhere on television. I was willing the lads on to go and get the result and was delighted when they did.  

1966 – England 4-2 West Germany – “1966 has to be on every England fan’s list.”

1966 has to be on the list for any English football fan. To win the World Cup has to be up there with the best games we’ve ever played.

The famous commentary, the scenes as the players lifted the trophy at Wembley, to witness it must have been an unbelievable experience.

The importance of the game was ingrained in me from a very early age, as it should have been, my family loved football and as England’s finest moment it was drummed into everybody who loved the game. 

Players from the North East have a fine tradition of playing for England, and the World Cup winning team was no different, with Bobby and Jack Charlton among the heroes that famous day.

1984 – Brazil 0-2 England – “Barnes played like a Brazilian in an England shirt.”

This game is always remembered for that John Barnes goal.  John was like a Brazilian that night but playing in an England shirt.

I saw the great Brazilian sides throughout my childhood scoring fantastic goals and for John to go over to Brazil on their turf and score one of those goals was special.

I was thirteen at the time and I remember him starting to dribble thinking he was going to pass it at any moment. He just went on and on and scored an incredible goal. All England fans who witnessed it will remember that goal forever.

John was appreciated more by England players at that time than the fans and everybody who played with John realised just how good he was.

For me to have watched that goal growing up and then to go and play against and with John later on was incredible.

England vs Spain reaction

The first half from England on Monday night against Spain was as good as I’ve seen for a long, long time. The performance was better than any of our displays in the World Cup.

Whether we like it or not there will always be a nagging feeling that when we came up against a good team in the summer we got beaten.

In Spain the goals were brilliant, we were exciting, we had more edge to our game.

If you hadn’t watched the game and just looked purely at the stats then you’d never believe the result was possible-27% possession and only 3 shots on target.

But the goals we scored and the passing leading up to the goals, were exceptional and everything about the first half was near perfection.

The second half they had to do something different. They had to dig deep and it was a brilliant night for English football.

It was also great to see Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford get the goals. 

If you didn’t know then you would have never guessed that Raheem hadn’t scored an international goal in three years, and you wouldn’t have known that Marcus had missed simple chances in recent games against Newcastle and Croatia.

As a forward, you cannot score every game. Harry Kane has now gone a few games without a goal but that is how form works.

It’s not down to tiredness. His link-up play was superb, creating two of the goals and he was unplayable at times.

Gareth Southgate is going about things the right way. He’s got a blueprint now, slowly but surely getting rid of the guys who have been to tournaments before and not done so well and going with the youngsters just coming into the game.

Even if some of them aren’t playing a great deal, he believes it’s the way to go and I think that he’s absolutely right with that thinking.

There is a really good buzz around the team at the moment. It was a dull game against Croatia because of the lack of atmosphere but they still should have won the game with the chances they had.

But then to move on from that and go to one of the big powerhouses in European football like Spain and win just shows how far we’ve come.

Gareth has got the nation back in love with the England team, everybody is watching and talking about us again and he deserves great credit for it. He’s doing a great job and completely deserves his new contract.



Alan Shearer

Alan Shearer played his entire career at the top level of English football, winning the Premier League title with Blackburn in 1994-95. The following summer he signed for his hometown club, Newcastle United, for a then world record £15 million fee.

He ended his playing career with a record 260 Premier League goals, which still stands today. He also won 63 caps for England, including 34 as captain, and among his 30 international goals were five scored at Euro 96, a total that won him the Golden Boot at that tournament.

Now the chief pundit on Match Of The Day, Alan was one of the first two players inducted into the Premier League Hall Of Fame this year.