Euro 2020 is the first international tournament in which Scots participate since the World Cup in France ’98. In previous editions it never managed to pass the group stage, but many in the country think that this time it will be different.
Bakhtiyar Zainavatdinov looks around as he walks towards the corner flag. Proceed slowly. Right foot in front of left. Left foot in front of right. Again and again and again. He’s not in a hurry. Not on that evening of March 21, 2019. Because the game has only fifty-one minutes, but the game is practically over. The midfielder walks on the green grass without making a face. Hear the Astana Arena roar as he crests his yellow jersey with his right hand. Then suddenly he turns his back on the audience. And with her thumb she points to the number that fills her back. Everyone has to print his name in his mind. Everyone should remember the goal he just scored. Because his header made the final score 3-0. And he led Kazakhstan to its fifth victory in official competitions since 2009. It is a night that no one in that stadium will easily forget. In a special way Scotland. The defeat against Power No. 117 in the FIFA rankings turns into a dark omen. Because it comes in the opening match of the qualifiers for Euro 2020. Arguments begin at home. Actually, process. Alex McLeish is the city dead man Walking, a coach who is only waiting for his waiver to be official. to print That defeat coincides with the darkest night of the football movement which has already experienced many gloomy moments.. Europeans become a mirage. Arbitration is an eternal condemnation. At least till the plot twist comes.
Three days later the Tartan army defeated San Marino. But the federation has already taken the decision. Goodbye Alex McLeish, welcome Steve Clark. It’s not a revolution, but it’s still enough. There are five wins and five losses. Scotland finish their group in third place, behind Belgium and Russia, but ahead of Cyprus, Kazakhstan and San Marino. It means there is a way. And it’s called the playoffs. The national team takes on Israel in the blue jersey. Not a match for the fine palate. Regular time ends 0-0. We need punishment. Jahvi is wrong, all Scots score. There is still one stumbling block to be overcome. And it’s called Serbia. Nobody in Scotland has too much confusion. On the other hand, as Milton Berle said, “the pessimist always builds prisons in the air”. The final turns from dream to nightmare with only a few seconds left. Jovic equalized Christie’s lead. We go on overtime. And then back to punishment. The first is kicked off by Leigh Griffiths, the striker who comes out of Trainspotting and who stopped detoxing from betting at the age of 28. Then everyone else scores. Everyone except Alexander Mitrovic. Scotland suddenly finds itself where it never thought of entering March 2019: European.
Clark appears in front of the cameras at the end of the game. “It was a good result for everyone – he says – the players were fantastic. We worked hard to create positivity around the national team and we succeeded.” And again: “It was a great moment after 22 years of pain and misery, spectacular failures and often so spectacular failures”.
There is no sentence that can more accurately sum up the essence of the Scottish national team. Because defeat after defeat, failure after failure, the Tartan army has formed a special beauty of defeat. Victory has become a tinsel, an unnecessary accessory. A team that is often bad and dirty, but also ugly. And that is why it has managed to become a cult national team. The last time Scotland managed to participate in a major international tournament was 23 years ago. For France ’98. And he wasn’t very lucky. The opening match is played against Ronaldo’s Brazil. Collins’ penalty reclaimed Cesar Sampaio’s advantage. Then Murphy’s law intervenes. If anything can go wrong, it will. and so it is. On 73 ‘Caf kicks on the goal and resists Leighton. I am that the ball ends in Tom Boyd. Actually, on Tom Boyd. And it rolls over the net. Scotland ends there. Norway’s Torre Andre Flo for Friends, draw against Flonando, then lose 3-0 against Morocco. Then nothing more. Not that it was better before.
The Tartan Army soon participates in 8 World and 3 European Championships. And it never made it through the group stage. This time in Scotland they are hoping for a different ending. 57 percent of fans believe the team with the blue jersey can pass the group stage (Here you will find all other matches of Scotland and Euro 2020) even though the favorites to advance to the second round are called England and Croatia. It is no coincidence that the Scottish Football Association has asked schools to broadcast the opening match against the Czech Republic. Pending the final result, the BBC has already moved on to defining players as “heroes”. Yet Tartan Senna is one of the least technical teams in the tournament. Midfielders Scott McTominay and John McGuin, and defenders Kieran Tierney and Andy Robertson are the most important elements. The saint is Ryan Christie, who thanked an entire nation (and above all Sir Alex Ferguson) for crying for an exciting interview after the match against Serbia.
Many of the other members of the squad have a special history.
The third goalkeeper, John McLaughlin, played for the rest of his life in the minor leagues while studying sports science at university. Football was a hobby, at least until 2017/2018, when at age 30 he had a positive season with Heart of Midlothian. Not a warship at all. Declan Gallagher was sentenced to three years in prison for attacking a chef at a wedding anniversary party with a baseball bat. And his first call-up to the national team in 2019 caused a lot of buzz. 19-year-old Nathan Patterson was banned for 4 games for attending a party in an apartment that violated anti-Covid rules. Stuart Armstrong graduated with a law degree because he didn’t really know what to do between training sessions. He was called up to the national team after Kevin Nisbet discovered that he was hit by a frozen water balloon by a colleague. And posted the video on social media. Looking at the campus, Clark will primarily focus on the group. “The hardest thing during the European Championship would be telling three players what they would never want to hear.” That is, they have to go to the stand. Emphasizing the team’s fins will be a country of half a million residents experiencing a special moment, suspended amid Brexit (which along with the new bureaucracy created major problems for Scottish fish exports with an economic impact on local fishermen) are) and an indefinite future. Elections held last May handed over half of parliament seats to Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s party. And soon a new referendum on independence could be called. This afternoon, however, everything will take a back seat. Because for once the Tartan army wants to build a castle, not a prison in the air.
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