The excitement in England was at its peak. Exactly three decades have passed since the first time, and the last until that moment, when the state hosted a major football tournament. So it was 1966 and of course it ended with a historic World Cup win and the plan was for Euro 1996 to end similarly. Just two years earlier the Three Lions team had failed miserably and stayed out of the World Cup in the United States, but that did not stop expectations from skyrocketing ahead of the tournament, where, according to the famous song, football was supposed to come home.

Not participating in the qualifiers, England held a host of friendly matches ahead of the Euros and on 18 May defeated Hungary 0: 3 impressively at Wembley. Immediately afterwards, the team made the long journey to the Far East, for a preparatory meeting against China, the last game before the real thing gets underway. The long and exhausting journey gave its signals and the players, who were under tremendous pressure, were looking for the possibility of falling apart a bit. They were sure that somewhere in a club in Hong Kong, long before the days of smartphones, no one would find them. Well, The Sun found them.

On 31 May, eight days after England traveled 0-3 to China and eight days before the Euros’ opening game, the tabloid’s headline screamed the word “disgraceful”. Below it – a picture of Paul Gascoigne With a torn shirt, a bottle of beer in his hand and a silly smile on his face. Beside him, no less drunk, stood Steve McManaman and Teddy Sheringham, but the fire went to the bad boy of English football: “Look at Gaza טיפ Stupid drunk with no pride,” read the tabloid, adding that on the flight back to the kingdom Gascoigne also tried forcibly entering the cockpit.

Paul Gascoigne on the Sun Gate in 1996: “Disgraceful” |

Later in the item, the newspaper went into the details of the event and knew how to tell that in addition to the three photographed there were six other players and even assistant coach Brian Robson, who went out to unload any burden and that Gascoigne and the guys received, called the dentist, what is called “dentist care”. What it means? You sit in the chair and lower your head back, and the bartender pours alcohol straight into your mouth – just like a visit to the dentist (minus the alcohol…). “I was the first on the chair,” Gaza said proudly over the years. “It just looked funny and after me a few more players joined. It did good to our team spirit. Of course because it’s me, and because I was photographed in front of the picture – I caught most of the fire.”

Indeed, while the media and fans were furious, the team teamed up that night that seemed like “on the way to a wedding stop in Hong Kong”. Terry Venbles’ squad for the same tournament came from 11 different clubs, some with big rivals between them, such as Arsenal and Tottenham, or Liverpool and Manchester United. Gascoigne, one of only two players on the roster who has not played in England (he was at Glasgow Rangers and Paul Ines at Inter), and one of the most experienced (who can forget the tears of the 1990 semi-final?), Connected them all, in his wild and unique way.

At first, this connection still seemed particularly shaky. England suffered a late penalty from Switzerland in the opening game and settled for a disappointing draw. The nerves in the country have escalated and the team has lined up for the second round against neighbor and rival Scotland, knowing it must not be screwed up again.

Paul Gascoigne | Getty Images/Getty Images

The match was played on June 15, 1996, at Wembley Stadium, this week 25 years ago. And here, right today (Friday), again in the second round of the Euro home stage, again at Wembley, England and Scotland meet once again and the Three Lions team can only dream of an unforgettable moment as happened to her the previous time.

So, in the 53rd minute Alan Shearer scored his second goal of the tournament and set a fragile 0-1. The Scots looked for equality and David even marked the top penalty. The pressure was at its peak, until 11 minutes to the end, Darren Anderton found with a bouncy and brilliant ball Gasquin about 25 yards from goal. Gaza was well guarded most of the game, but suddenly space was freed up for him. Brakeman Colin Hendry came out on top, but the mad genius bounced over his head on the left and from the air, flying the ball in with his right foot – one of the most beautiful goals in the history of the Euros. But it does not end there.

The excited Gascoin ran and lay on his back near the left beam of the gate and the friends knew what to do. Redknapp and McManaman stood on either side and Shirrer took a bottle (water, this time) and squirted from it straight into the occupier’s open mouth. The “Dentist Celebration” became mythological in England from that day on and was the crushing answer of Gascoigne and the team to the yellow media.

“The biggest moment in Paul Gascoigne’s career,” legendary English broadcaster John Motson called it in an interview with the Telegraph a few years ago. “Gascoigne was the best player I have ever played for the England team.” Unsurprisingly, that tournament also ended with an English cry, after being knocked out on penalties in the semi-final against Germany. This time, in this Euro, the Reds-Whites, with a quality squad and a big win over Croatia in the opening round, can only dream of a different finish. In the meantime they will settle for another magical moment at the expense of Scotland tonight, a quarter of a century behind the previous one.

Paul Gascoigne’s “Dentist Chair” Celebration | Stu Forster/Allsport/Getty Images

By Editor

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