“England have done it in the last minute of extra time!” was John Motson’s euphoric commentary following the sensational, swivelling strike by David Platt that sent England into the quarter-finals of the 1990 World Cup – commentary that later featured in Baddiel and Skinner’s song Three Lions (Football’s Coming Home). This joyful photograph by Mark Leech captures Paul Gascoigne, the man who delivered the free-kick to Platt, running to the substitutes’ bench in celebration. Emotional, cheeky and unpredictable, Gazza was a gift to photographers but a nightmare for his teammates – Chris Waddle later said he got about three hours’ sleep in the seven weeks they spent rooming together at Italia ’90. Of course, Gazza will always be best known for his tears in the semi-final against West Germany, but this image is an uplifting memory from that heartbreaking summer.
Photograph: Mark Leech / Offside
Words: Jonny Weeks
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