Thirty years of hurt never stopped them dreaming.
And one thing the England Euro 96 team liked to fantasise about was just how they would celebrate winning THAT crucial semi-final.
To this day, the contest is often defined by Paul Gascoigne almost scoring a goal which would have seen England beat Germany.
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But many forget Darren Anderton also came excruciatingly close to securing a place in the final after just 80 seconds of extra time.
Reaching Steve McManaman’s pass just before Andreas Köpke, Anderton's ball hit the inside of a post and ended up in the goalkeeper’s arms.
And that godforsaken post denied us the chance to witness what could have been the greatest moment in the history of English football.
Anderton explained on 90s footballing podcast Quickly Kevin – Will he Score? how the team had planned to mark a golden goal.
The players would have sprinted en masse off the pitch and headed straight down the tunnel.
"It would have been amazing because we would have this celebration to run off down the tunnel," he said.
"It would have been the first golden goal."
He recalled the moment he watched in despair after his ball clicked the goalpost.
"Nightmare. Disaster," he said.
"I got a connection on it, thinking, 'Oh well it's in'.
"And kind of by the time I've hit it, I'm facing the other way and I kind of roll over and watch the ball just, not only hit the post but goes into the keeper's hands.
"I was like, surely not?"
And the rest as they is history. Penalty shoot-out agony would deprive the England team of Euros glory.
Anderton made 30 national appearances during his career, scoring seven goals.
He rose to prominence from Portsmouth where his talents were soon noticed by top-flight clubs and he joined Tottenham Hotspur for £1.75 million in 1992.
Two years later, the midfielder was given his England debut by Terry Venables against Denmark in 1994.
He famously turned down a move to Manchester United in the summer of 1995, a decision that he later admitted regretting.
Injuries hindered his career, which led to his nickname 'Sicknote'. But he still managed to chalk up 318 Premier League appearances in his 12 years at Spurs winning the League Cup with them in 1999.
He retired from playing in December 2008 afrer a two-year spell at League One side Bournemouth.
He now lives in California but still works as a sports pundit for the UK media.
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