england scotland

REPORT: ENGLAND VS SCOTLAND, England Unable To Secure Qualification After Another Disappointing Attacking Performance

ENGLAND VS SCOTLAND

The oldest international football rivalry in the world ended goalless after ninety minutes. England was disappointing in front of their fans and Scotland would be more than happy to take the point. It was an excellent defensive performance from the travelling side and England did not cause any compelling threat for the three-man Scottish defence.

 

 

The game ended England 0-0 Scotland. The result means that the Czech Republic will remain top of the Group with England in second followed by Croatia. Scotland still has a chance of qualifying if they manage a win against World Cup runners up Croatia in their final group game. Group D is set for a gripping finale.

STALEMATE AT HALFTIME

England was much calmer on the ball in the opening minutes of the game. Scotland on the other hand was extremely adventurous and found the first chance of the game in under four minutes. A well-worked give and take in the left channel gave O’Donnell enough time to cut the ball back to Che Adams. The Scottish forward was in acres of space inside the box but his first-time shot lacked conviction and was blocked by Stones.

The Three Lions found their best chance in the tenth minute through a corner. John Stones was left unattended by the Scottish defence as he made his way to the centre when the corner was swung in. A gigantic leap from the centre-back enabled him to get an almost perfect header and keeper David Marshall was all but beaten. Luckily for the Scots, the ball came back out off the woodwork.

 

 

Scotland’s next big chance came in the 30th minute from the left flank. Captain Andy made an excellent run through the left-hand side and put a high cross for his counterpart O’Donnell. His well-timed volley was brilliantly saved by Pickford in goal to keep things level.

Although England had the greater share of possession in the half, they once again lacked the cutting edge upfront. Scotland was much braver on the ball and England’s ineffective pressing in their half enabled the Scots to create chances higher up the field. England’s quality was outplayed by Scotland’s tenacity.

A SIMILAR SECOND HALF

England was clearly on the front foot at the start of the second half. The Lions were keen on finding the first goal of the night. Kane and Sterling neatly passed the ball around the penalty box and it would have resulted in a chance at goal if not for a crucial intervention by Robertson. Moments later, Mount struck a thunderous shot from outside the box through the Scottish defensive line. His hopes of finding the bottom right corner of the goal were denied by the safe hands of Marshall in goal.

 

 

Yet, despite England’s sustained pressure, it was Scotland that had the better chances in the initial stages of the second half. Tyrone Mings’s crucial intervention on two occasions just minutes apart denied Lyndon Dykes the opening goal.

 

 

Recognising England’s lack of attacking threat, Southgate finally decided to introduce Jack Grealish into the game in the 63rd minute. But to the surprise of many, instead of replacing an unsure Sterling or a below-par Kane, it was the prominent Phil Foden that made way. Sacrificing quality for the experience.

SCOTLAND’S SOLID PERFORMANCE

Scotland’s golden generation was unlucky to lose by two goals against the Czech Republic in their opening match. This time around, despite playing against a much more threatening attack, Scotland remained solid at the back. They also worked the ball around better and created good opportunities in the game.

 

 

Steve Clarke’s use of the personnel at his disposal is commendable. Scotland does not boast many quality big names like their rivals England but their defensive discipline and strength of character was evident in the match. England’s Premier League stars were kept at bay for most parts and the few chances they did get was cleared up effectively. Scotland deserved the point and have a chance of qualifying for the knockouts.

LACKLUSTRE ATTACK

England is gifted with a pool of good attacking players. Players that ply their trade in the biggest clubs in the Premier League. However, they are unable to make use of their talents upfront and are often reliant on their defensive cover to win them games. This partly boils down to team selection and partly due to the setup.

 

 

It is almost impossible for England fans to predict the starting XI as Southgate often changes things around every game. Although this points to the versatility of the England camp, it is also a hindrance to their performances. They didn’t play particularly well against Croatia and did the same once again today. Scotland were the clear underdogs in the fixture but England’s lacking in the attacking third cost them a crucial three points.

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