Euro 2020: Lacklustre England held as Scotland make their point

London: England missed a chance to book their place in the last 16 at Euro 2020 as Scotland kept their own hopes alive with a well deserved 0-0 draw last night.

Gareth Southgate’s side would have been guaranteed to advance from Group D with a win over their old rivals at Wembley.

But lethargic England managed just one shot on target and Scotland’s combative display could easily have earned all three points.

England's Tyrone Mings, 2nd right, attempts a, overhead shot at goal while grabbing the shirt of Scotland's Grant Hanleyduring the Euro 2020 soccer championship group D match between England and Scotland at Wembley stadium in London, Friday, June 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool) Image Credit: AP

Despite a flop that saw them booed off at full-time, England have four points and will be certain of qualifying if they avoid defeat by the Czech Republic in their last group game on Tuesday.

Scotland, in their first major tournament since the 1998 World Cup, looked far more composed than in their opening 2-0 loss to the Czech Republic.

They remain in with a chance of going through if they win their final match against Croatia.

Ponderous England’s lack of cutting edge was a major issue for Southgate, who responded to Harry Kane’s second successive lacklustre effort by hauling off his captain after 75 minutes.

No impact

There had been questions raised about Kane after he failed to make an impact in England’s 1-0 win against Croatia on Sunday.

Kane admitted he was not undroppable this week and Southgate has a difficult decision to make over the Tottenham striker, who finished as the Premier League’s top scorer this term but has suddenly lost his touch.

With an average age of 25 years and 31 days, England’s starting line-up was their youngest ever in a major tournament match and as one of the few senior players, Kane hardly led by example.

“A draw is probably a fair result. Scotland defended really well. It wasn’t our best performance,” Kane said.

“Scotland are playing for their lives in the tournament and you saw that today. It is not what we wanted but it is one step closer to qualifying.”

Meeting in a major tournament for the first time since England’s win at Euro 96, this was a redemptive performance for Scotland, whose fans serenaded their team at full-time.

“I don’t think many can argue that we had the big chances, at times we kept the ball superbly well and frustrated them,” Scotland captain Andrew Robertson said.

“On another night we could’ve came away with more but we take a point. It keeps us alive.”

It was the 115th clash between England and Scotland, an ancient rivalry that dates back to 1872 on the pitch and centuries earlier off it.

The Tartan Army were officially limited to 2,500 supporters inside Wembley, but the coronavirus-restricted 22,500 capacity included hundreds more Scots who secured tickets in other areas of the stadium.

It made for a vibrant atmosphere, with the Scottish national anthem loudly jeered by England fans and “God Save the Queen” given the same treatment from the visitors.

Influential Gilmour

John Stones should have raised the roof early on when the unmarked England defender met Mason Mount’s corner with a close-range header that crashed against the post.

But England were unable to make the most of their early flurry and Scotland’s confidence began to soar as the hosts grew more listless.

Chelsea youngster Billy Gilmour, making his first Scotland start, was dictating the tempo with a vibrant display in midfield.

Scotland's Billy Gilmour waves to the fans after the Euro 2020 soccer championship group D match between England and Scotland, at Wembley stadium, in London, Friday, June 18, 2021. The match ended 0-0. (Facundo Arrizabalaga/Pool via AP) Image Credit: AP

The Scots carved open England’s defence with surgical precision moments later as Kieran Tierney surged onto Robertson’s pass.

Tierney’s cross picked out Stephen O’Donnell beyond the far post and his stinging volley forced a fine save from Jordan Pickford, with Che Adams heading wide of the empty net from the rebound.

For the second successive game, England had produced a plodding first-half performance.

Southgate’s men took just three minutes of the second half to finally test David Marshall as the Scotland keeper sprawled to his right to save Mount’s powerful strike.

Kane teed up Reece James, selected instead of Kyle Walker at right-back, but he lashed narrowly over from the edge of the area.

Scotland, competing ferociously and playing with intelligence, remained a major threat and Lyndon Dykes’ hooked shot had to be headed off the line by James.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post