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The England forward was ill on the morning of the Three Lions' clash with the Republic of Ireland at the Stadio Sant'Elia in Cagliari, at Italia 90.
But Lineker was adamant that he wanted to feature in the opening clash for his country and kept quiet on his illness to then-manager Sir Bobby Robson.
The former England international realised after 10 to 15 minutes into the second half that his stomach took a turn for the worse and he started cramping.
Lineker explained on the Match of the Day podcast: "I'd been ill overnight and it was the opening day of the cup and I'd woken up a few times with diarrhoea, etc.
"I didn't want to tell Bobby Robson because I thought he might leave me out of the team and I wanted to play, as always.
"Anyway, the game started and I was alright, then about 20 minutes I started cramping. Somehow I made it through to half-time and I thought I'd be alright.
"We go out for the second half, we're 10 or 15 minutes in and I'm starting to cramp again and I think, 'Oh, I'm in trouble here.'
"The ball went down the Irish left-hand side and I ran across and tried to block something. I sort of fell to the ground and relaxed for a second and it just went 'boom.'
"It was like, 'Oh my God,' but it was everywhere. There's a bit, if you ever see the footage, where Gary Stevens comes over and asks what's wrong.
"And I go, 'I've s**t myself.' I just didn't know what to do. Thank God I had dark blue shorts on that day. I'm shovelling it out and rubbing myself on the grass like a dog.
"It was amazing how much space I found after that, though, I was stinking.
"In the end, Bobby had to take me off, and I think Steve Bull replaced me and I went to the bench.
"Every ground pretty much had the dugouts right next to the tunnel, but on this ground, no, the two dugouts were the opposite side to the tunnel so I had to go and sit on the bench with all of the subs.
"You could see everyone shuffling away from me whilst I sat on my own, feeling sorry for myself."
Lineker, who scored four times in the tournament, was taken off not long after the infamous incident as England were held to a 1-1 draw.