It’s the match will have two nations drawn to their television screens on Friday night as the Auld Enemy clash once again. Paul Gascoigne scored one of the most memorable England goals of all time in the last meeting between these two sides at a major tournament and in what should be a cagey affair on Friday night, it may well take another moment of magic to determine a winner.
England enjoyed a good start to their campaign as they managed to get the job done against a rusty-looking Croatia side. It wasn’t spectacular but crucially they got the result that they needed which avoids any nerves which would come into play with a shaky start and in fact, it’s the first time the Three Lions have ever grabbed a victory in their opening match of a European championship. It was quite apparent that they still had another gear or two to go up if needed and they’ll look to do so beginning on Friday as they aim to show the other big guns at this tournament that they mean business.
Losing to the Czech Republic at home was a massive blow to the Scots, there’s no escaping it. It was a tie which was labelled by most to be both winnable but also a must-win and they now move onto two considerably more difficult tasks as they take on England and Croatia. There’s hope to be taken from the game against the Czechs though in that Scotland were without doubt the more dominant side and on another day the result could have been so different. Captain Andy Robertson led a remarkably attack-minded performance from the first whistle as his side created chance after chance but failed to convert them whilst on the other hand the Czechs clinically took what seems to have been the only two chances they got.
All hope is not lost for the Tartan Army as third place is more than likely enough to see you through to the knockouts – even with a mere 3 points as we witnessed with eventual winners Portugal in 2016. Picking up any points in London will give the Scots a major boost going into the last match at home to Croatia, who may even be out by then.
Kieran Tierney was a shock omission just a couple hours before kick-off on Monday but is said to be back training and will provide a massive boost to Steve Clarke if he’s passed fit. Not only will he bring an assured presence at the back but he’ll give Gareth Southgate something to worry about as along with skipper Robertson, arguably the two best left-backs in the Premier League will bomb forward. A key battle will be in the midfield which could possibly see Aston Villa team-mates John McGinn and Jack Grealish squaring off as Steve Clarke may opt to have the former mark his good friend off the park given that he’ll be familiar with how he operates.
We can expect a fierce contest right from the off as England in particular will aim to achieve what they do more often than not and kill the game early – in their last 10 victories they have been ahead at half-time in 6 of them. On the other hand, Steve Clarke’s men will need to defend resolutely and certainly much better than they did in their opening match if they’re to keep England’s frightening attack at bay. Chances will be nowhere near as many this time around and should they even manage to create any then they’ll also have to be far more clinical.