The last 12 months have produced some of the most dramatic events in the history of sport. Here Independent writers recall moments of magic which will live long in the memory: Tuesday 18 June; Dutch masters humiliated by rampant England
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It was a magnificent evening for every Englishman, but for one spectator the 4-1 rout of the Dutch was a special night indeed. Phil Baynes is an English site engineer who was working on a project in the Netherlands. On the afternoon of Tuesday 18 June he flew back to London for the game, returning to work the following day.

"They were full of it," he recalled this week. "Dressed in orange and mouthing off about what they were going to do to us. At the airport they gave out orange scarves to everyone - I declined mine. I asked a few what they thought the score would be and a lot said 3-1 or 4-1. I don't think they envisaged it would be England getting the four.

"The flight back was a more sombre affair. I had my England shirt on and I was still bubbling. I was humming `Three Lions'. No-one would meet my eye.

"At work they were all apologetic about qualifying after playing so badly. I then went on site with my shirt on, an England scarf, and with a big red cross and 4-1 written on my white hard hat. I had to rub the 4-1 off though after a big Dutch welder chased me with a hammer."

At this point Baynes, who is still working in the Netherlands and was speaking on the telephone, said he had better go - his work colleagues were getting fed up with being reminded. "They tell me: `one win and you go on about it forever'."

It was a memorable night. When Wembley secured the right to be rebuilt as the new national stadium last week, its backers may have briefly cast their mind back to 18 June and offered a private vote of thanks to Terry Venables.

From welcoming the first, flag-waving arrivals, to bidding adieu to the last, tired but elated groundsman, the old lady of stadia had rocked as never before. After that the Football Association's vote was settled.

"I don't remember anything like it in '66 and there were more people in the ground then," Venables recalled. "It was wonderful against Scotland on the Saturday and I thought: `How are they going to match that' - but they were even better."

Even before the rout began, the crowd were in full voice. "Three Lions" and the national anthem were belted out with gusto to a sea of red-and- white flags of St George. Then England played with a style and panache even their most ardent supporters had not dared hope for. Most, indeed, had merely hoped for a stalemate, knowing that a draw would send both teams into the quarter-finals.

The Dutch had problems and were not the same team which had been made competition favourites when first drawn with England in December. Edgar Davids had been sent home, Marc Overmars had not arrived, Patrick Kluivert was struggling for fitness, Dennis Bergkamp was unhappy playing at centre- forward. But they were still a very good team.

England had their own worries. A scrappy draw with Switzerland had been followed by an unconvincing win over Scotland. Teddy Sheringham and Darren Anderton were searching for form, Tony Adams was playing in pain. They had not beaten the Dutch in five meetings since 1982.

Terry Venables kept faith with the same XI that played the Swiss and Scots but re-arranged them into the "Christmas tree" with Sheringham and Steve McManaman playing off Alan Shearer. Vindication arrived in the 23rd minute as Danny Blind brought down Paul Ince after McManaman's run. Shearer, who had already had a shot kicked off the line, buried the penalty.

The turning points came five minutes either side of the break. First David Seaman denied Bergkamp with a splendid reaction save low to his left. Then Sheringham twisted to head in Gascoigne's corner.

Eleven minutes later it was 4-0. Gascoigne's dribble, and Sheringham's immaculately disguised pass, set up Shearer. Then Sheringham pounced after Erwin van der Sar spilled Anderton's shot.

"The atmosphere was incredible,"recalled another in the crowd, Bob Burgess, who had driven up from Somerset. "It was a mixture of shock and delight. All the way up I had convinced myself it would be 0-0. We could not believe that we could play that well." The reaction in the press box was similar.

Meanwhile, at Villa Park, Scottish fans watching the match with Switzerland found themselves cheering England's progress. For 16 heady minutes they thought they, too, would qualify.

A late goal from Kluivert put the Scots out but it could not prevent the Netherlands' heaviest defeat for 20 years. "Everything happened exactly as Terry Venables said it would," recalled Sheringham afterwards.