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On this day: Gary Lineker exits international stage

Twenty-three years ago today, Gary Lineker made his final appearance for England in a game against Sweden that would see him controversially substituted.

As far as centre-forwards go, few have been more clinical in an England shirt than Gary Lineker.

He headed into Euro '92, which would be his last major tournament before announcing his international retirement later that summer, with 48 goals to his name.

It meant that one goal in Sweden would draw him level with Sir Bobby Charlton's record of 49 for the Three Lions, while two would see him take the outright lead.

Yet, the skipper was provided with very few goalscoring opportunities as Graham Taylor's men drew their first two group matches against Denmark and France 0-0.

Consequently, England headed into their final group encounter against the hosting Swedes 23 years ago today knowing that only a victory would do if they were to secure their spot in the semi-finals of the tournament.

All appeared to be going well when in just the fourth minute Lineker crossed from the right flank for David Platt, who sent his volleyed effort bouncing beyond the reach of Thomas Ravelli in goal.

But rather than press home their advantage, England found it difficult to keep hold of possession, so it was little surprise when Jan Eriksson scored an equaliser shortly after the restart.

Then would come one of a number of negative moments that appeared to define Taylor's three-year stint at the helm. In the 62nd minute, he decided to take off the record-hunting Lineker, replacing him with Alan Smith. As a furious-looking Lineker trudged off the pitch, he didn't acknowledge his manager.

Nevertheless, a winning goal for England would have extended their interest into the last four and would have also provided Lineker with another chance to top his country's goalscoring chart.

Tomas Brolin - the future Leeds United midfielder - had other ideas, though, because with just eight minutes remaining in Solna, he exchanged passes with Martin Dahlin, before firing his rising shot from the edge of the area into the top corner of Chris Woods's net.

With England heading home, a lot of the focus from fans and the media honed in on Taylor and the retiring Lineker, with the latter receiving the majority of the support.

Speaking more recently about his decision, Taylor said: "Taking Gary off was a pure footballing decision but, because we lost, unfortunately the media turned it into a decision that was between him and me personally.

"We needed to hold the ball up because Sweden were just coming at us and they were a good side. That's why I got Alan Smith on."

Meanwhile, talking to FourFourTwo, Lineker added: "I never really held it against [Taylor]. He probably did me a favour by making me a martyr. We were a pretty crappy team, probably England's worst of recent times.

"We were poor in that game and weren't creating chances. If he'd left me on I'd have been pilloried with the rest of them after the tournament. Instead, because he took me off, it was turned against him."

Sweden: Ravelli; Nilsson, Eriksson, Andersson, Bjorklund; Ingesson, Thern, Schwarz, Limpar (Ekstrom); Brolin, Dahlin

England: Woods; Batty, Keown, Walker, Pearce; Daley, Webb, Palmer, Platt, Sinton (Merson); Lineker (Smith)

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England manager Roy Hodgson looks on at the start of the international friendly football match between England and Scotland on August 14, 2013
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Today's Olympic highlights header

Tuesday's key events


TRIATHLON
· Team GB trio Vicky Holland, Georgia Taylor-Brown and Jess Learmonth all have realistic medal hopes in the women's event (10.30pm-1am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· After an impressive opening day, Great Britain play their final group game against a Fiji side level with them at the top of the pool, but also yet to hit their brilliant best (1.30am)

TAEKWONDO
· After disappointment for friend and housemate Jade Jones, Bianca Walkden will go for gold in the women's +67kg category (2am-2.30pm)
· Mahama Cho is another medal contender for Team GB in the men's +80kg class (2am-2.30pm)

SWIMMING
· Team GB's Duncan Scott has the chance to claim his first individual Olympic medal in the men's 200m freestyle final. Teammate Tom Dean is also involved. (2.43am)
· Kathleen Dawson is the Team GB representative in the women's 100m backstroke final (2.51am)

DIVING
· Eden Cheng and Lois Toulson will look to emulate Tom Daley and Matty Lee's success in the women's 10m synchro final (7am-8am)

EQUESTRIAN
· Three-time Olympic champion Charlotte Dujardin is part of a Team GB team going for gold in the dressage team Grand Prix final (9.30am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Superstar Simone Biles leads the United States side in the women's team final (11.45am-2.10pm)

FOOTBALL
· Team GB's women's team play their final group game, taking on Canada with qualification for the knockout rounds already secured (12pm)

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