Former Burnley boss Chris Waddle on One Night in Turin

Former Burnley manager Chris Waddle was a key player in one of the most memorable meetings between England and, then, West Germany.

Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 1:55 pm
Chris Waddle in the Burnley dugout
Chris Waddle in the Burnley dugout

Waddle, then with Marseille, was in typically impudent mood in the Italia 90 World Cup semi-final, with a series of searching crosses and probing passes, almost catching out keeper Bodo Ilgner with an audacious effort from almost halfway - which would have been ruled out for an earlier foul - before cruelly hitting the post in extra time.

However, he is remembered for the crucial penalty shootout miss which sealed England s exit, after an earlier miss from Stuart Pearce, sending the ball high over the bar.

And, speaking exclusively to , he looked back on that night in Turin: “We had the five takers and Gazza was one of them.

Chris Waddle closes down Lothar Matthaus

“But after getting that yellow, he was in no fit state to take one, so I just put my hand up. I’d enjoyed the game and I was confident.

“At first, I was going to put it to the goalie’s left, but when Stuart [Pearce] missed, I thought that I had to make sure and go for power.

“I thought in my head that there’s no way he’s going to save it. But because I caught it so clean, it just took off and flew.

“If I’d scuffed it a bit, it would have gone in.

“It’s a horrible way to go out because it’s not like the best team won in my eyes.”

His advice to the England players should they find themselves in a penalty shoot-out this time around?

“Don’t take one!”

But Waddle was proud to wear the Three Lions in a career where he appeared at two World Cups and a Euros on his way to earning 62 caps between 1985 and 1991.

“To play for your country in any sport, that’s your target,” he says.

“You can’t get any higher in your career as a footballer once you represent England. It’s the greatest achievement and honour.

“If you don’t get a thrill pulling on that white shirt and going down that tunnel, there’s something wrong and you shouldn’t be there.”

Italia 90 captured the nation's attention and remains a memorable time, despite England going out at the semi-final stage - the first time England reached the last four on foreign soil.

No one fancied England then, and they made a slow start to the tournament, drawing their first two games with the Republic of Ireland and Netherlands, before a narrow 1-0 win over Egypt saw them top the group.

David Platt's superb volley against Belgium, deep in extra time saw them into the last eight, where, after a scare against Cameroon, two Gary Lineker penalties put Bobby Robson's men through.

Waddle admitted: “If you don’t go to a tournament thinking you can win it, then I don’t see the sense in going.

“When we got through the group, we all believed we could win it.

“After David Platt’s goal in the last minute against Belgium in the first round, confidence was so high.

"Cameroon was a very hard game. Technically, they were better than us and we knew that. But we knew how to win.

“Then, even against West Germany, they had good players but so did we.

"You walked around the park and thought: ‘There’s nothing between us.’”

England had that team spirit, and Gareth Southgate's group appear to have a similar bond: “Togetherness is massive.

“In 1990, we were away for seven weeks. It takes a lot of mental strength, we were under lock and key.

"You’ve got to have security everywhere you go. You’re on the bus to training, back on the bus to the hotel, in your room or the restaurant and that’s basically it.

“But the camaraderie was brilliant.”

Waddle, however, had the whirlwind that was Paul Gascoigne - another future Claret - as his roommate: “I got the short straw and was rooming with Gazza.

“I love Paul and we get on very well, but he is the clown.

"We always tried to tell him he can’t do this or that but he did it, it didn’t matter who told him.

“He was a bundle of energy. He’d be up at 6am or 7am, out the patio doors and doing 20 lengths of swimming, then training and table tennis in the afternoon and he would crash out at about 11pm.

“I always had to turn the lights and telly off. It just went on and on like that.”