It’s one of the defining moments in Sheffield’s recent history, the year football really did come home to England – and our city was packed to the rafters with fans.
Euro ’96 was – as you can tell by the name – 20 years ago this year.
It remains the most recent time England has hosted a major football tournament, and although we are due to host the semi-final and final of Euro 2020, it is unlikely that Hillsborough will be chosen this time.
But what a tournament!
Sheffield hosted three group games, involving four nations – Denmark, Croatia, Portugal and Turkey.
The most memorable of the lot was surely Croatia’s 3-0 win over defending champions Denmark, where star striker Daver Suker netted twice, including a brilliant chip to beat Peter Schmeichel in front of a packed Hillsborough crowd.
Denmark drew with Portugal 1-1 in the first group game in Sheffield, on the second day of the tournament on June 9.
But it wasn’t just about the football.
Apart from putting Sheffield on the international stage, the tournament brought thousands of international fans into the city.
The thousands of Danish fans were famously good-natured, taking over parts of the city.
Everywhere you went, for a couple of weeks, were red and white flags, shirts, wigs and scarves.
The Danes even took to ‘worshipping’ the clock tower in Orchard Square in a strange ritual.
They created a party atmosphere wherever they went and joined in a Euro ’96-themed music festival in the city centre.
It may not have been a winning tournament for the England team, after the agony of a semi-final defeat by Germany, but Euro ’96 will always be a Sheffield success story.