This Friday evening, one of the standout games of the Group Stage of the European Championships takes place at Wembley. Hosts England will welcome their oldest and most fierce rivals, Scotland in a Group D clash that has huge significance for both teams for the remainder of the tournament.
The fixture used to be an annual event when the British Championship was held, but when that tournament stopped in the mid-1980s, the games between the two became far less frequent, and that has perhaps added to the intensity of the rivalry between the pair when they do clash.
In this article, we are going to preview this game, take a look at the history of the fixture, what recent form between the two teams tells us and lastly, what the situation is in Group D of the European Championships and what kind of result both teams need in order to further their cause in the tournament.
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So let’s begin with a look at the long and sometimes fractious history of this fixture over the years.
England V Scotland – History
The very first fixture between the two teams came back in November 1872 and was England’s first ever international fixture. The game was played at Hamilton Crescent in front of 4,000 fans and finished in a rather dour 0-0 draw.
The fixture became an annual one and Scotland held the advantage in those early years, England winning just two of the first 13 games between the teams, Scotland taking 9 wins and there also being two draws.
Other notable performances came in 1961, when England beat the Scots by the heaviest scoreline in the fixture’s history, winning 9-3 at Wembley. However in April 1967, Scotland became the first team to defeat World Champions England when they won 3-2 at Wembley.
In more recent times, it is England that have had the upper hand in the fixture. Since May 1982, Scotland have beaten England just twice in 15 games. England have won 10 of those games, with three drawn games. In the last nine meetings between the teams, England have won seven of those games, with one Scottish win and one draw.
England V Scotland Key Recent Games
2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers
Nov 2016 – England 3-0 Scotland
Jun 2017 – Scotland 2-2 England
England strolled to a 3-0 win at Wembley in their World Cup qualifier against Scotland in November 2016, Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana and Gary Cahill scoring the goals. However in the return in Scotland, two stunning Leigh Griffiths free kicks late on looked to have snatched a win for Scotland, only for Harry Kane to snatch a late equaliser, adding to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s opener for England.
2000 European Championships Playoffs
Nov 1999 – Scotland 0-2 England
Nov 1999 – England 0-1 Scotland (England win 2-1 on aggregate)
Two well taken goals from Paul Scholes handed England a big advantage in the first leg of this two-legged playoff for a place in Euro 2000. However, three days later at Wembley, Don Hutchison’s goal brought the Scots back into the game and landed them the win on the night, although England went through 2-1 on aggregate to the finals.
1996 European Championship Group Stage
Jun 1996 – England 2-0 Scotland
England grabbed their first win of Euro 1996 with a 2-0 win over Scotland. Alan Shearer put England in front early in the second half, but Scotland won a penalty late in the game. David Seaman saved Gary McAllister’s spot kick and just a few seconds later, Paul Gascoigne scored one of the most famous England goals, flicking the ball over Colin Hendry’s head before smashing home a volley to confirm the win for England.
In total, the teams have played 114 times so far, England winning 48, Scotland 41 with 25 matches between the teams ending as a draw.
Euro 2020 Group D Standings And News
Czech Republic – 3pts (+2)
England – 3pts (+1)
Croatia – 0pts (-1)
Scotland – 0pts (-2)
One advantage that both England and Scotland will have before their game is that they will know the result of the Czech Republic v Croatia clash, which takes place beforehand. How that game turns out will likely determine what Scotland need to do in order to remain in with a chance of qualifying for the Knockout Phase.
For England, a win and they are in and in truth, even a draw may well be enough for Gareth Southgate’s men to ensure that they claim a qualifying spot. However, if they want to stay at Wembley throughout most of the knockout phase, then they need to top the group.
While a defeat won’t necessarily put Scotland out of contention for a spot in the knockout phase, it would make their qualifying route much harder and they would be reliant on other results going their way. As such, it is vital for Steve Clarke’s team to try and get something from the game.
England could possibly have Harry Maguire back in contention for this game, but my feeling is Gareth Southgate would like to give him extra time to recover, even if it means him missing this and their final Group Stage game. After a solid display against Croatia, I don’t see the England manager changing too much from that game assuming Kane and Stones, who both picked up minor knocks in that game, are fit to play.
Predicted England XI – (4-2-3-1) – Pickford, Walker, Trippier, Stones, Mings, Rice, Phillips, Mount, Foden, Sterling, Kane.
There was no doubt that Scotland’s performance picked up when manager Steve Clarke made some changes to his team in the second half against the Czech Republic and due to that, I can see a couple of changes being made to the Scottish line up. Kieran Tierney should also be back to bolster the back line and offer another attacking threat down the left hand side.
While I felt the Scots were a little unlucky to lose the Czech’s in the manner they did, I do feel that they are going to struggle against England. A comparison of the two teams does show England stronger in a number of areas, although the Scots will make things difficult.
I can see the Scots scoring a goal, but I do think England will still run out comfortable winners, hence I have gone for the 3-1 scoreline and for Harry Kane to score a goal at any time for the Three Lions.
*All odds shown were correct with bet365 Sport as of Wednesday 16th June at 10.30am.
Ian has been a lifelong avid poker player, and is also well-versed in the worlds of online sports betting, casino gaming, and the burgeoning eSports industry. UK-based Ian has written for several years for a wide variety of online publications, and is especially adept at bringing readers inside the latest and greatest games.