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In Pictures: Hughes and Rush beat Spain


Wales take on Portugal in the first semi final of Euro 2016 tonight. Making it to the last four of a European Championship surely surpasses the wildest dreams of even the most optimistic of Wales players. After all, for decades even qualifying for a major tournament has proved a pipe dream for generations of Welsh internationals. For all the European trophies players like Mike England, John Toshack and Ryan Giggs won with their clubs, they never played a World Cup or European Championship with their country. Neither did Ian Rush and and Mark Hughes, even though they formed a impressive…
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Writing the wrong kind of history


Playing in a major tournament, the dream of every team is to write history. But as England found out against Iceland, that dream coming true does not necessarily equal a happy end, as you may find yourselves writing the wrong kind of history. This England team will live on in the memory of football fans, but they will do so as the 21st century equivalent of that other England team suffering an ignominious defeat: the 1950 World Cup squad that were beaten 1-0 by the United States. The World Cup was held in Brazil that year, and England had travelled…
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In Pictures: Gascoigne scores against Scotland


Paul Gascoigne had stormed onto the international scene at the 1990 World Cup. Six years later the days when Gazzamania had swept the country, seemed like an eternity away. Problems with alcohol and injuries had started to overshadow his career and there was a widespread belief he was past it. In the second game of England’s Euro 1996 campaign, Gazza replied to his critics in the most effective way: with his feet. Passing a Scottish defender with a superior flick, he proceeded to volley the ball into the net, scoring one of the most memorable goals in the history of…
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The dawn of hooliganism at the Euros


Football vandalism has a long history, but modern hooliganism is the product of the England of the 1970’s, when crime and violence were rife around football games. The rest of Europe soon found itself introduced to the phenomenon, as British teams travelled to the continent for European cup ties. As authorities struggled to get hooliganism under control, crowd violence led to suspensions from European competition for Leeds United in 1975 and Manchester United in 1977. The World Cups and European Championships held during the decade however, were spared the new violent fan culture. The reason was simple: England had failed…
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In Pictures: Michel Platini during Euro 1984


It’s stated quite often that Diego Maradona won the 1986 Wold Cup on his own. But insofar as anyone can actually win a tournament on his own, that distinction would apply to Michel Platini at Euro 1984 much more than to Maradona two years later. The gifted French playmaker scored in every one of his team’s five matches. In total Platini scored an astonishing number of nine goals in the course of the tournament, including hattricks against Belgium and Yugoslavia. Platini celebrates his goal in the opener against Denmark (1-0) Shielding the ball against Belgium (5-0) Platini celebrates one of…
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Thibaut Courtois following in the footsteps of…


With Belgium taking the field against Italy next Monday, Thibaut Courtois looks set to become the first Belgian to tend goal at a European Championship in sixteen years. He’ll be following in the footsteps of Eric Deflandre. If that name does not ring the same kind of bell, even among goalkeeping aficionados, that the names of legendary Belgian goalies like Jean-Marie Pfaff and Michel Preud’homme do, it might be because Deflandre was in fact a full-back. He was a fine one at that, earning 57 caps at right-back for Belgium and winning the French league three times in a row…
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In Pictures: Gullit captains Holland in 1988 final


With Holland missing out on the 2016 European Championship, it’s time for fans of Dutch football to reflect on the good times of the past. In 1988 an impressively mustachioed Ruud Gullit captained the Dutch national team to victory at Euro 1988. The powerful forward might have expected to be the star of that team, but found himself outshone by Marco van Basten. Gullit contented himself to play in the service of his team, fully living up to his captaincy, but did produce one crucial goal when he opened the score in the final against the Soviet Union.

Jack Charlton’s little black book


When Jack Charlton admitted to having a little black book during a television interview in 1970, viewers perhaps wondered if they were about to be made privy to some scandalous secrets by the seemingly happily married World Cup winner. But instead of providing juicy stories for the gossip pages, Charlton’s disclosure ended up sparking a scandal that would dominate the back pages for weeks, as journalists and officials tumbled over one another in self righteously denouncing the tough as nails veteran defender. Jack Charlton in action during the 1966 World Cup final Charlton had made it clear that his little…
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Pele as a goalkeeper


When you’ve famously scored more than a thousand goals and have gone down in history as one of the best players ever (if not in fact the best one), you can hardly be said to have missed your calling. Still, if the pictures below of a seventeen year old Pelé in action as a goalkeeper are anything to go by, it would seem a decent goalkeeper might have been lost in the legendary Brazilian striker. Because that seems like an excellent save he pulls of in the face of two onstorming attackers. The photographs are from 1957, when Pelé and…
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Playing on with a broken neck

Bert Trautmann

There are plenty of examples of footballers playing on with injuries. No self respecting football hard man is going to let a head wound get the better of him, no matter how enthusiastically the blood may be flowing out of it. The urge to play on no matter what has produced iconic images of Giorgio Chellini, Paul Ince, and off course Terry Butcher, playing with a blood stained shirt and a turban of bandages. But playing on with an broken neck? That’s taking things to a whole other level. Still, that’s exactly what happend at Wembley on the 5th of…
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