After an absence of more than two decades, the Scotland international reappears with renewed ambitions, competing against the Czech Republic in a Group D match at Euro 2020 in Glasgow tomorrow.
The last Scottish appearance in an international tournament is the 1998 World Cup, which ended prematurely with no glory, a clear defeat (3–0) against Morocco. To go back to final participation in the final stage of a European, conversely, the time hand must go back to 1996, the year of the Czech Republic’s debut in continental competition, and in which the Scots challenged and eliminated the English. Went by A Beautiful Goal by Paul Gascoigne. If the checks have always existed since then, the Scots have duly failed to qualify.
Yet yesterday at Hampden Park, the hosts appear on the pitch as favourites. And not just because they can count on the support of the home crowd. The last two straight comparisons, played last autumn for the Nations League, ended with a double win, only for Scots, coming back from a series of five games without defeat (two wins and three draws, friendly matches). including against Holland). Coach Clark, who claims a past as an assistant to Jose Mourinho at Chelsea’s time, even though relations between the two have certainly calmed down in the meantime, cannot count on champions of international value, especially in attack. . But the team still has a number of outstanding players, especially on the flank, with captain Andy Robertson, a Liverpool full-back, with whom they won the Champions League. Also in the Scottish squad are those who in January 2017 were the 30-year-old ‘colossus’ (1.96 tall) of defense Declan Gallagher, to play after serving a sixteen-month prison sentence for bleeding a man with a baseball bat. had returned. In front of a hotel in Blantyre.
A three-point start would be the best way to support Tartan Arms’ ambitions. “The Czech Republic will create a lot of problems for us – admits Clarke – but the positive aspect for me is that whatever I play from the first minute, I know I can be 100% confident. And as a coach it is the best. “
If the best result so far, at the European Championships, has been reaching the final, five years earlier in France five years earlier, Portugal had defeated the Czech Republic in the quarter-finals. But there are only three players left from that team, including captain Vladimir Darida. In a direct comparison of 21, to 11 Scottish victories, the Czech Republic can only contest eight victories, the last of which however dates back to 2010 (Euro 2012 qualifiers). “Scotland is a tough opponent, physically strong, with a good defensive phase – analysis of Czech coach Jaroslav Silhavi -. They have determination and are aggressive, above all they counterattack very quickly. The last two matches against them We have many targets which we could not take advantage of.
However, let me remind you that in one of the Nations League matches we practically played with Team B, as the senior national team, myself included, was under quarantine for COVID cases. Now I think this third attempt may be lucky, I guess”. A final line on the question of whether to kneel before kick-off: “We won’t do that – says Silhavi – because we’re specifically are focused on football and matches”
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