Czech Republic got their Euro 2020 campaign underway with a 2-0 win over Scotland at Hampden Park, Glasgow on Monday (June 14).
If the opening encounter of Group D in Euro 2020 was a hard slog, the second was an action-packed affair that made a star out of one player. Little was expected from the clash between Czech Republic and Scotland. However, the match turned out to be a fiesty affair between two sides who came to play on the front foot. But it was the Czechs who walked away with a 2-0 win courtesy of Patrik Schick. The Bayer Leverkusen striker is sure to be the talk of the town after his display. Especially given the way his second goal came about.
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The win means that Czech Republic now sit atop the group standings. For Scotland, it was a frustrating afternoon as they played well enough. However, their lack of clinical touch in front of goal cost them.
For Scotland, it was supposed to be a joyous occasion. After all, they’d be playing in front of their home fans at the historic Hampden Park stadium.
Indeed, the effect of being in front of their own fans worked wonders for the Scottish team. Under Steve Clarke, they have become a capable side and they showed that early on.
John McGinn was in fine form in midfield and captain Andy Robertson was imperious down the left. The Scots were roared on by fans, who looked happy to be there. After all, Scotland aren’t regulars in major international tournaments.
However, as the half wore on, the Czechs grew into the game. And as that happened, the nerves seemd to get the better of the Scots.
Goalkeeper David Marshall was forced into a save early on but that seemed to help Scotland snap out of the fear. Again they roared forward but Lyndon Dykes was wasteful.
Tomas Vaclik then denied Robertson as he parried a thunderous shot into the stands. Once again, Scotland were alive and kicking.
Little did they know, however, that a sucker punch was to come their way soon enough.
The Czechs won a corner that was cleared by Scotland, who seemingly switched off thereafter. Vladimir Coufal comfortably overlapped and hung in a tempting ball from the flank.
Schick, who is known to be good in the air, beat out his man and headed the ball past Marshall. To make matters worse, it came right before half-time – a killer of momentum.
Che Adams was brought on before the start of the second half. Scotland, now playing with two strikers up front, looked lively again at the start.
However, if the first goal was a sucker punch, the second was a killer blow.
Jack Hendry had possession of the ball in front of the Czech penalty area and unleashed a shot. This was duly blocked, and amazingly the ball fell right into the part of Schick.
He let the ball roll in front of him and, spotting Marshall off his line, unleashed a curling and dipping effort. Marshall scrambled back but to no avail.
It’s a goal that brought back memories of David Beckham’s strike against Wimbledon. And it was also one that all but killed off the game.
Nevertheless, Scotland persisted. If there’s one major takeaway for them from this game, it’s that they never knew when they were beaten.
Indeed, they almost got a lucky break when a Tomas Kalas mishit clearance lobbed towards the goal. Vaclik was, however, on hand to make a save.
In the end, it is hard to dispute that Czech Republic were anything but deserved winners. For Scotland, who come into Euro 2020 having never lasted beyond the first round in any international tournament they’ve been a part of, the match against England at Wembley suddenly assumes more importance than just a case of renewing old rivalries.