Usually, Euro 2016 qualifiers take precedence over international friendly games, but with England enjoying a very strong start to the 2016 campaign, there has been equal attention drawn to the fact that on Tuesday 18th November England will make a daunting trip north of the border to take on Scotland.
This game promises plenty of fireworks as the auld enemies face off once again in a fixture, that was once a regular event on the football calendar but which is now an all-too rare phenomenon.
Let’s take a little look at the history of one of the oldest football fixtures in existence before looking at some of the top tips we have for the clash.
If you want to skip right down to our betting picks, they’re at the end of the article – and of course we recommend all bets be placed at Bet365, where new players qualify for a free Bet365 Sports new player bonus.
The ‘Auld Enemies’ – A history
The very first match between England and Scotland took place back in 1872 and it finished in a 0-0 drawn between the two sides. Over the years, the teams have met 111 times, with Tuesday’s match set to be the 112th meeting between the teams.
England have won the encounter 46 times to Scotland’s 41, with 24 encounters between the teams ending in a draw. Scotland’s most famous victories came in 1928, when they defeated England 5-1 at Wembley, and then again in 1967 when they also triumphed at Wembley defeating the then World Cup holders 3-2 and after the game, declaring themselves ‘unofficial World Champions’.
England’s best victories came in 1961, when they thumped Scotland 9-3 at Wembley, the biggest ever win in the fixture and again in 1996, when at Euro 96, goals from Alan Shearer and a memorable strike from Paul Gascoigne earned England a 2-0 victory in the tournament.
The teams met again in November 1999 in another crucial fixture. This time, it was the playoffs to decide who would reach the 2000 European Championship finals. England won the first leg of the match 2-0, thanks to two Paul Scholes strikes at Hampden Park. In the return leg however, Scotland were much stronger and won the game 1-0 thanks to a Don Hutchison strike and the Scots came very close to pulling the game back to 2-2 on aggregate and forcing extra time.
It was 13 years more before the teams would meet again. The last meeting took place at Wembley, with England twice coming from behind to win the game 3-2 thanks to a late winning goal from Rickie Lambert.
The game on Tuesday is the ‘return leg’ of this fixture from over a year ago and while there is no European Championship qualification points on the line, there is no doubt that this will be a hotly contested game.
Scotland’s team news
Manager Gordon Strachan has named a 27-man squad for the games with the Republic of Ireland and England with the manager’s eyes firmly on the 3 points available against the Republic for Euro 2016 qualification.
Craig Bryson of Derby and Stoke’s Phil Bardsley have both had to withdraw from the initial squad due to injury, with replacements in Johnny Russell of Derby and Hearts defender Callum Paterson called up in their place.
Other than that Strachan has a full squad to pick from for both games and while the three points against Ireland remain his main focus, there is no doubt that victory against England, regardless of the result in Dublin, will mean a lot to this fiercely passionate Scot.
Scotland possible team:
- Marshall (GK)
- Berra (Def)
- Mulgrew (Mid)
- Naismith (Att)
England’s team news
England manager Roy Hodgson has no massive injury concerns ahead of his two games against Slovenia and Scotland. Southampton’s Nathaniel Clyne and West Brom’s Saido Berahino could make their England debuts in an otherwise predictable squad.
There’s been some criticism for the inclusion of the out of sorts Man Utd defender Chris Smalling, but Wayne Rooney should earn his 100th cap against Slovenia and Hodgson welcomes back Theo Walcott and Ross Barkley into the squad after injury.
Michael Carrick and Stewart Downing have both earned recalls. Fabian Delph and Jack Colback miss out from the squad that last faced Estonia in October.
England possible team:
- Hart (GK)
- Jagielka (Def)
- Wilshere (Mid)
- Welbeck (Att)
One thing is sure, while this may be a friendly game, the likelihood of both teams approaching it as thus is virtually nil. Much like games against Germany or Argentina for England, this is a game that has huge bragging rights attached to it and as such, expect a high-intensity game very different to a typical international friendly.
As such, this is a game that should be treated more like a competitive fixture and that does mean that as a punter you need to approach the game slightly differently.
The last two times this game has been played in Scotland, England have won both games 2-0. There was also a 0-0 draw in the 1987 Rous Cup and Scotland’s last win on home soil against England came in 1985 when Richard Gough’s goal handed them victory.
England have a good record in Scotland in recent times winning five of the last eight clashes north of the border, but I think Scotland’s new found confidence under Gordon Strachan will push England hard and I can see a draw here. I can see goals too, so I think 1-1 or possibly 2-2 look the best bets here.
Finally, if you are looking for a decent first goalscorer bet then the smart money would be on Manchester United and England captain Wayne Rooney to find the net. He has 43 goals for England, just six short of Bobby Charlton’s record haul of 49, and as penalty taker and by far and away England’s most reliable goalscorer, Rooney is the obvious choice.
For an outside bet, you could take a punt on Scotland’s Steven Naismith who is in fine form for club side Everton at the moment, or England’s potential debutant Saido Berahino, who is likely to feature from the bench but who has a fantastic scoring record at U21 level for England and is the top English scorer in the Premier League this season.
Whoever you back to win, it promises to be an exciting game between two of football’s longest rivals.