On this day: England overcome Northern Ireland in Euro 1988 qualifier

On this day: England overcome Northern Ireland
© Getty Images
On this day in 1986, Gary Lineker scores twice as England record a 3-0 win over Northern Ireland at Wembley.

England returned home from the 1986 World Cup in Mexico with a huge sense of injustice stored in their luggage.

They'd been knocked out by Argentina at the quarter-final stage, but it had been no bog-standard defeat. While Diego Maradona had scored one of the tournament's best ever goals, he'd clearly used his hand to score his nation's other in a 2-1 victory, but the referee failed to spot the offence.

Having licked their wounds for three months, it was time for the Three Lions to return to the pitch 27 years ago today.

Sir Bobby Robson's side had played a friendly away in Sweden that September (and lost 1-0), but the visit of Northern Ireland to Wembley for a Euro 1988 qualifier would be their first competitive encounter since hand-gate.

Although the World Cup campaign had ended in controversy for Robson's men, it had been a largely successful tournament for Gary Lineker, who had scored six goals to earn him the Golden Boot award.

The then Barcelona centre-forward continued that form against the Greens when he opened the scoring in the 33rd minute. The away side failed to clear a Glenn Hoddle corner and when the ball broke to Lineker, he fired the ball beyond Phil Hughes.

The hosts continued to dominate the contest, but it wasn't until 12 minutes from time that they secured the points. Peter Beardsley's shot was deflected into the path of Chris Waddle and he took full advantage by sending a half-volley into the roof of the net.

It was down to Lineker to have the final say two minutes later when he raced onto a through pass from Beardsley, before chipping a stranded Hughes from a narrow angle for his 14th international goal on what was his 19th appearance.

England went on to qualify for the competition in West Germany, but they lost all three of their group encounters against the Republic of Ireland, Holland and the Soviet Union.

Paul Scholes celebrates scoring for England against Poland at Wembley in March 1999.
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