Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughThe last time England visited Moldova (Video) - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough The last time England visited Moldova (Video) - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

The last time England visited Moldova (Video)

On Friday England visit Moldova to begin their qualification for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Ironically, the last time the Three Lions visited Chisinau was also to begin qualification for a World Cup, this time in September 1996 as they tried to reach France 98. With England finally returning to the Eastern European backwater after 16 years, let’s take a look back, with the aid of the video below, at the last time the two countries met.

The game marked Glen Hoddle’s first in charge of England and the first England match since that famous Euro 96 semi final defeat against Germany at Wembley, which ended in an agonising penalty shoot out and Gareth Southgate’s miss. Hoddle was hit by a raft of absentees, with Tony Adams, Steve McManaman, Darren Anderton and Teddy Sheringham all missing for one reason or another.

Hoddle looked to impose his own mark on the team and had already replaced the at the time alcoholic Adams with Newcastle’s recent world record signing Alan Shearer as the England captain. Elsewhere, first caps were given to Andy Hinchcliffe and a certain David Beckham of Manchester United. Beckham had recently wow’ed fans with his goal from the half-way line vs Wimbledon and Hoddle had finally listened to the calls to make Beckham a central part of the England squad.

Elsewhere however, it was much the same team that came so close to European Championship glory. Ince and Gascoigne still made up the engine room in midfield, while the likes of David Seaman, Gary Neville, Gareth Southgate and Stuart Pearce remained as part of England’s defensive rearguard.

As for the game itself, Moldova were predictably poor and England ran out comfortable winners with goals from Nick Barmby, a looping header from Gascoigne and one from skipper Shearer. England could even afford to give away a penalty to the home side which was duly missed.

Of course, this England side ended up qualifying for France 98 and led by the brilliance of a young Michael Owen, pushed Argentina all the way before the inevitable exit in a second round penalty shoot out.

Will England be as comfortable in Moldova this Friday?

Adam Mazrani

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