England-Scotland. Euro2020. Group stage. Wembley. We don´t need to use too many words to introduce what looks like the juiciest derby of the first phase of the European tournament. They faced each other 114 times with just one precedent at the Euros, exactly 25 years ago. Is it possible to add more spice than this?
England vs. Scotland
Friday, June 18, 2021 – 03:00 PM EDT
The two British teams have faced each other only once at the Euros and England won. It was the England ‘96 tournament when the Three Lions had a great run till the semifinal. That game was played also at Wembley, and after Scotland managed to resist for 53´ minutes, back-then-most-expensive English transfer, Alan Shearer and an iconic Paul Gascoigne celebrating with the famous ‘dentist’s chair’, set the score to 2-0 for the hosts.
Scotland exited the tournament for goals scored (1 vs. 3) on the same points as the Netherlands (4). It was their last participation in the Euros, and it is quite significant that they will take on England again, after 25 years, on a matchday 2. Contrary to 1996, Scotland did not make any waves on debut as they did against Netherlands (0-0) in Birmingham: they lost in an unfashionable way to Patrick Schick´s brace and had little or no word at all in their home in Glasgow.
Disappointing for the fans, disappointing for the gaffer Clarke. Opposite feelings for the England camp: it was not easy to beat Croatia, Modric & Associates proved tough opponents for Southgate’s boys; however, they managed to slot home a much-awaited vendetta and overcome the debut with flying colors. Probably the only negative note was Harry Kane: he helped his team a lot but could not net himself.
There won’t be any change in the English formation: 4-3-3 is what helped England to break through the Croatian resistance as it showed the importance of having attacking flankers adding up to Harry Kane’s weight upfront. This is the reason why, Clarke, might copy his mentor, Jose Mourinho, and adapt to the opponents: masking his 3-4-1-2 in a 5-4-1 to contain England’s flying wings.
Following an Italian football proverb saying: ‘winning line-up, never change it’, Southgate will not change his XI. Being compared to Paul Gascoigne for his blonde hair at Euro ’96, Phil Foden scoring one in this game would be quite a coincidence! Clarke hopes to recover Tierney in defense (unlikely) and might give a nod to Che Adams after being criticized for leaving him on the bench.
Before the game against the Czech Republic, Clarke was keen on saying that his team had no pressure whatsoever. After losing it and ahead of the derby with England, things have completely changed. Considering Scotland have been missing from the Euros for 25 years, expectations to move onto the knock-out stage have become low. However, ruining the English party would be as worth winning a tournament. England are exploiting the momentum from overcoming the first and probably hardest hurdle of the group stage.
Scotland have an ungrateful job ahead which reflects in the odds. Despite the pack of players in front of goalkeeper Marshall, England might find the way to the goal earlier, and more could come in. Kane is hungry to hit the back of the net: the last time from build-up was on the 28th of March against Albania in an away friendly. The time has come, and the odd is good: go for it! Not feeling like staking everything just on him? Football, after all, it is a team game: England to win at halftime (1 Half Time) is a decent option to have a go at.
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