Euro 2020(1) Live! Scotland vs Czechia
Since that evening 23 years ago, Scotland and qualifying for the finals of major tournaments have been locked in an increasingly perpetual looking state of torment. From the bad luck of outplaying England in the last match between the two teams at Old Wembley but still getting knocked out to beating the Netherlands in a playoff first leg and then shipping six goals in the return match. Between this sort of antics, failing to qualify at all, and their record of having failed to get out the group stages ten times out of ten when they did get there, no other international team has such an accomplished history of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
All of which brings us crashing back to the present. Euro 2020 has second places for four of the six third place teams, and in a group that might be described as “otherwise moderate”, Scotland’s chances of changing their luck must be higher than normal? Well, on the one hand, the team has had a more settled build up to the tournament than either of the other two home nations, while few watching Scottish viewers will have seen much to terrify them about their other two rivals in this group. On the other, though, best positioned third places were on offer in 1986, 1990, 1992 & 1998, and Scotland couldn’t manage one of those, either.
Today, though, it’s the Czech Republic. There is enough talent in this Scottish team to give the Czechs more than a game. Andy Robertson, Kieran Tierney (who misses this match after picking up an injury in training this morning), Scott McTominay, Stuart Armstrong, David Turnbull, Ryan Fraser and Che Adams are all proof of this. Furthermore, this is a home game for Scotland. There’ll only be 12,000 people allowed into Hampden Park this afternoon, but if other matches already played are anything to go by, it’s perfectly possible to build a fearsome atmosphere with a relatively modest crowd. I’ll be back at 2 to talk you through the game. In the meantime, here are the teams for this afternoon’s match.
Scotland: Marshall, Hanley, Cooper, Hendry, O’Donnell, Armstrong, McGinn, McTominay, Robertson, Dykes, Christie.
Subs: McGregor, Adams, Gordon, Taylor, Turnbull, Nisbet, Fraser, McLaughlin, Patterson, Gilmour, Forrest, McKenna.
Czech Republic: Vaclik, Coufal, Celustka, Kalas, Boril, Soucek, Kral, Masopust, Darida, Jankto, Schick.
Subs: Kaderabek, Brabec, Barak, Holes, Krmencik, Sevcik, Mandous, Zima, Hlozek, Vydra, Mateju, Pekhart.