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Will Rooney Come Good at Euro 2012?
Then, as now, England entered the competition with somewhat less of the usual over-confidence and hype. Personal scandal hung over certain senior players (Paul Gascoigne's boozing then, John Terry's pending racism trial now).
England's great goal-scoring hope was shooting blanks (going into Euro 96, Alan Shearer hadn't scored for England in nearly two years; going into Euro 2012, Wayne Rooney hadn't scored in an international tournament since Euro 2004).
But Euro '96 wound up setting the stage for that quintessential denouement of glorious failure: a semifinal, penalty shoot-out loss to the Germans. If England can manage to flout the Italian scandal superstition and win their quarterfinal, an epic semifinal re-match awaits. Can glorious failure be far behind?