Seaman a saving great

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The Independent Online
Even the vanquished Scots were obliged to hand it to England yesterday. Plunged to despairing depths by the right arm of Stuart Pearce on the opening day of Euro 96, England were guided back on course by the left elbow of David Seaman in Wembley's battle of Britain.

Second-half goals by Alan Shearer and Paul Gascoigne were directly responsible for the 2-0 victory which gave England victory against their neighbours from over Hadrian's Wall. But the ultimately decisive act was the save England's goalkeeper made from Scotland's captain. Their hearts were broken when Gary McAllister's penalty, 13 minutes from time, struck Seaman's arm and deflected over his bar.

It gives England vital elbow room in Group A, which they now lead by virtue of a superior goal count to Holland, whom they meet at Wembley on Tuesday night. "I just guessed the right way," Seaman said. "The ball started rolling as Gary ran up but he still struck it pretty well. It has to rate as my most important save." Arsenal's trusty custodian also made a vital save from Gordon Durie before making the three points safe for his country, and securing the man of the match award for himself.

"It was a very good penalty save," the Scotland manager, Craig Brown, acknowledged. "It's unusual for Gary to miss one. I thought we were unlucky to lose. England made the most of the spell they enjoyed as the superior side. But we could still go through to the quarter finals if we score enough goals against Switzerland and the England-Holland result falls our way."

Shearer, who has two goals in two Euro 96 games following his 20-month barren spell, urged caution in the home camp. "We are nearly through," he said, "but we must not get carried away. We might need another point." He acknowledged that Gascoigne took the honours for the best goal scored yesterday. "It was world class," the Blackburn striker said of his fellow Geordie's stunning 79th-minute effort.

"It was sensational," the England coach, Terry Venables, added. "It was vintage Gascoigne."