England ignore ghosts of '98 for Slovakia clash
20 June 2016, 20:55
Saint-tienne - Wayne Rooney says England will give no thoughts to history in Saint-Etienne when the Three Lions take on Slovakia at Euro 2016 on Monday for a place in the next round.
England need just a point to be sure of reaching the knockout phase of the European Championship finals in France.
Roy Hodgson's side wants the three points to finish as Group B winners and set up a last 16 match next Saturday at the Parc de Princes in Paris, which is close to England's base in Chantilly.
But Saint-Etienne has bad memories for England fans.
It was at the Stade Geoffroy Guichard where David Beckham was sent off when England lost to Argentina on penalties in the last 16 of the 1998 World Cup.
"We aren't even thinking of that, we've put ourselves in the position to win the group," said England's captain Rooney.
"I think it's important we try and take this chance and we'll accept whoever we have to face in the next round."
On June 30, 1998, goals by Alan Shearer and Michael Owen were cancelled out by Argentina's Gabriel Batistuta and Javier Zanetti as the match finished 2-2 after extra-time.
Beckham was sent off early in the second half for aiming a kick at Argentina captain Diego Simeone, now manager of Atletico Madrid.
The south Americans won 4-3 on penalties after Paul Ince and David Batty failed to convert their spot-kicks in the shootout.
"I watched it in my nan's (grandmother's) house," said 30-year-old Rooney, who was 12 at the time of the 1998 World Cup.
"Michael Owen scored a great goal, then there was the disappointment of seeing David Beckham get sent off.
"That was a good England side, but this is our chance."