Graham Taylor of Aston Villa replaced Bobby Robson as the England manager for the 1994 competition. England qualified for the European Championships in 1992 but again performed badly drawing with Denmark and France, being eliminated when they lost their final group game to Sweden. The mercurial Gascoigne was absent, after he was injured in the FA Cup Final, and this was the first in a series of injuries set to blight his career. England were drawn in a group of six nations with two set to qualify for the 1994 Finals. They drew Poland, Holland, Turkey, Norway and San Marino.
England began the campaign against Norway on the 14th October 1992 at Wembley. Their opponents had already thrashed San Marino 10-0, and surprisingly beat the Dutch 2-1 and arrived on top of the group. England recalled a fit again Paul Gascoigne but would have to do without Gary Lineker whom had retired from International football. England dominated the opening exchanges but went into half time frustrated with the score at 0-0. They took the lead early in the second half when a Stuart Pearce free kick was headed in by David Platt (55th minute). England had another effort cleared off of the line and should have wrapped the game up, but were stunned when a long range effort from Rekdal found their net in the seventy sixth minute. They could not score in the time remaining s o the match ended 1-1.
England v Norway
Date: 14th October 1992
Score: England 1 v 1 Norway
England: Woods, Dixon (Palmer), Pearce, Batty, Walker, Adams, Platt, Gascoigne,Shearer, Wright (Merson), Ince
Norway: Thorstvedt, Nilsen, Pedersen (Berg), Bratseth, Bjornebye, Ingebrigsten, Mykland (Flo), Rekdal, Halle, Sorloth, Jakobsen
Goals: England:Platt 55 Norway: Rekdal 76
England next met Turkey on the 18th November. They dominated the match. winning 4-0 with two goals from Paul Gascoigne (16th and 61st minute), Alan Shearer (29th minute) and Stuart Pearce (59th minute).
England v Turkey
Date: 18th November 1992
Score: England 4 v 0 Turkey
England: Woods, Dixon, Pearce, Palmer, Walker, Adams, Platt, Gascoigne,Shearer, Wright, Ince
Turkey: Hayrettin, Recep, Bulent, Gokhan, Ogun, Orhan, Hami (Riza), Unal, Mehmet (Ugur), Oguz, Hakan
Goals: England: Gascoigne (2) 16 61 Shearer 29 Pearce 59
Despite making four changes for the visit of San Marino on the 17th February 1993 England romped home 6-0 with four goals from David Platt (13th, 23rd, 66th and 80th minutes), Carlton Palmer (75th minute) and a debut goal from Les Ferdinand (85th minute).
England v San Marino
Date: 17th February 1993
Score: England 6 v 0 San Marino
England: Woods, Dixon, Dorigo, Palmer, Walker, Adams, Platt, Gascoigne, Ferdinand, Barnes, Batty
San Marino: Benedettini, Muccioli, Gennari, Zanotti, Canti, Guerra, Manzaroli, Mazza M, Bacciocchi (Mazza P), Bonini, Francini (Matteoni)
Goals: England: Platt (4) 13 23 66 80 Pearce 75 Ferdinand 85
Another win followed a month later against Turkey in Izmir 2-0 courtesy of goals from David Platt (6th minute) and Paul Gascoigne (45th minute).
Turkey v England
Date: 31st March 1993
Score: Turkey 0 v 2 England
Turkey: Engen (Hayrettin), Recep (Hami), Ogun, Alli Guncar, Tugay, Bulent, Feyyaz, Unal, Mehmet, Oguz, Orhan
England: Woods, Dixon (Clough), Sinton, Palmer, Walker, Adams, Platt, Gascoigne, Barnes, Wright (Sharpe), Ince
Goals: England: Platt 6 Gascoigne 45
With three wins and a draw in four matches, England faced their toughest opponents Holland in good heart. The Dutch came to Wembley on the 28th April. England immediately took control and scored first through John Barnes (2nd minute). The lead was doubled in the twenty fourth minute when David Platt scored after Les Ferdinand hit the post. The Dutch fought back and pulled a goal back before half time when Dennis Bergkamp scored. In a nervous second half England struggled and the Dutch managed an equalizer from the penalty spot in the eighty sixth minute after a foul by Des Walker. England had thrown away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2.
England v Holland
Date: 28th April 1993
Score: England 2 v 2 Holland
England: Woods, Dixon , Keown, Palmer, Walker, Adams, Platt, Gascoigne (Merson), Ferdinand, Barnes, Ince
Holland: De Goey, Blind, De Boer, Wouters, Witschge, Winter, Bergkamp, Rijkaard, Bosman (De Wolf), Gullit (van Vosen), Overmars
Goals: England: Barnes 2 Platt 24 Holland: Bergkamp 35 van Vossen 86 (pen)
England now needed points in their next matches if they were to progress. They travelled to Poland on the 29th May 1993 needing to win. This eluded them but they managed a 1-1 draw after being outplayed for much of the game, with a late goal from Ian Wright (85th minute).
Poland v England
Date: 29th May 1993
Score: Poland 1 v 1 England
Poland: Bako, Kozminski, Szewczyk, Czachowski, Adamczuk, Kosecki, Swierczewski, Brzeczek, Lesiak, Lesniak (Wegrzyn), Furtok
England: Woods, Bardsley, Dorigo, Palmer (Wright), Walker, Adams, Platt, Gascoigne (Clough), Sheringham, Barnes, Ince
Goals: Poland: Adamczuk 35 England: Wright 84
Four days later they met Norway with avoiding defeat vital if they were to progress. They started well but were beaten by two goals straddling half time and lost 2-0.
Norway v England
Date: 2nd June 1993
Score: Norway 2 v 0 England
Norway: Thorstvedt, Halle, Pedersen, Bratseth (Nilsen), Bjornebye, Leonhardsen, Rekdal, Mykland, Bohinan, Flo, Fjortoft (Sorloth)
England: Woods, Dixon, Pallister, Palmer, Walker (Clough), Adams, Platt, Gascoigne, Ferdinand, Sheringham (Wright), Sharpe
Goals: Norway: Leonhardsen 42 Bohinen 48
With three matches left England stood in second place in the group. Poland had games in hand and it was imperative that they beat them at Wembley on the 8th September 1993. Graham Taylor made several changes and they paid off as England prevailed 3-0 with goals from Les Ferdinand (6th minute), Paul Gascoigne (59th minute) and Stuart Pearce (53rd minute).
England v Poland
Date: 8th September 1993
Score: England 3 v 0 Poland
England: Seaman, Jones, Pearce, Pallister, Ince, Adams, Platt, Gascoigne, Ferdinand, Wright, Sharpe
Poland: Bako, Kozminski, Lesiak, Czachowski, Adamczuk (Bak), Kosecki, Swierczewski, Brzeczek, Lesniak Warzycha R, Furtok (Ziober)
Goals: England: Ferdinand 6 Gascoigne 49 Pearce 53
The scene was set for a monumentally important match against Holland in Rotterdam on the 13th October. Norway had already qualified, and with Holland being equal on points but having a better goal difference England had to avoid defeat and hope to score a hatful against San Marino in their last match to progress. Paul Gascoigne was suspended and to the chagrin of many in England Carlton Palmer took his place in the team. A furious early assault on the English goal was repelled and well constructed counter-attacks led to the away side hitting the post. The match was 0-0 at half time although England were fortunate as the Dutch had a goal wrongly disallowed for offside. England started the second half well, but the match erupted into controversy when David Platt was pulled down by Ronald Koeman when racing clear in the fifty ninth minute. The German referee gave a free kick but failed to dismiss the Dutch transgressor despite the fact he was clearly the last man. England missed the ensuing kick, but just a few minutes later the Dutch broke up field and were awarded a free kick themselves just outside the English penalty area. Koeman who was lucky to be on the pitch stroked the ball into the net. England fought back hitting the Dutch post for a second time but fell another goal behind in the sixty eighth minute. They could not come back and had disastrously lost 2-0.
Holland v England
Date: 13th October 1993
Score: Holland 2 v 0 England
Holland: De Goey, De Wolf, Koeman R, De Boer F, Rijkaard, Wouters, Koeman E, Bergkamp, Overmars(Winter), De Boer R (van Gobbel), Roy
England: Seaman, Parker, Dorigo, Pallister, Ince, Adams, Platt, Palmer (Sinton), Shearer, Merson (Wright), Sharpe
Goals: Holland: R Koeman 61 Bergkamp 68
England entered the last group match needing a Dutch defeat in Poland to even have a chance of qualifying. Even in the best-case scenario they would need at least seven goals. England met San Marino in Bologna (they did not play at "home") on the 17th November 1993. The match started disastrously when after only eight seconds England conceded a goal, the fastest ever goal in international football. They recovered their composure to score seven unanswered goals to win 7-1 with four from Ian Wright (34th, 46th, 78th and 90th minutes), a brace from Paul Ince (22nd and 73rd minutes) and a solitary goal from Les Ferdinand (38th minute).
San Marino v England
Date: 17th November 1993
Score: San Marino 1 v 7 England
San Marino: Benedettini, Valentini (Gobbi), Gennari, Zanotti, Canti, Guerra, Manzaroli, della Valle, Bacciocchi (Mazza P), Bonini, Gualtieri
England: Seaman, Dixon, Pearce, Pallister, Ince, Walker, Platt, Ripley, Ferdinand, Wright, Sinton
Goals: San Marino: Gualtieri 1 England: Ince (2) 22 73 Wright (4) 31 46 78 90 Ferdinand 38
Holland won easily 3-1 in Poland and England were out of the competition.