My little white Sony digicube was new when I listened to this match on it in 1988. It was all Holland, and the commentator’s shock at Robson’s goal insulted me. I spent that glorious summer at the head of a long table of roll-up smokers and bored retirees trying to make sense of footballers’ pensions. My battered ’60s office was high over the baking tracks outside Woking station. All gone now. In this clip, Bobby Robson has the same mouth as George W. Bush.
Van Basten’s goal was beautiful when it came, although it had the air of having been found at the back of a metal cupboard kept shut since 1974.
In Addicted, Tony Adams describes this game as one long dummy sold him by van Basten, but here you see him, with his young hair and unshadowed eyes, making himself heard and putting in tackles as though England had been missing their captain forever before he came.
Peter Beardsley tucks in his chin as he makes the long walk to the subs’ bench. For you, Cooler! When England hosted the European Championship, the jokes about Germans were tasteless. But this is the eighties, the Federal Republic’s good time, and talk of an “English invasion” was really all about English embarrassment. To fans from a country still shaking and hungover from the recession, West Germany must have been California.
England fall apart in the end, in a way that they’d never do under Eriksson. But at least Captain Marvel’s side show their passion and commitment as they spinelessly implode.
But wait till we get them back to our place. Here are the same sides at Wembley, earlier that year. Those numbers on your screen are counting passes. But are they Dutch passes, or English? You’ll have to watch to find out..