Euro 2020: Resolute Scotland hold England to a goalless draw

Scotland displayed defensive disciple marshalled by holding midfielder Billy Gilmour to earn their first point of the campaign.

Scotland held England to a goalless draw in Euro 2020 fixture; Credit: Twitter/@EURO2020

England were held to a 0-0 draw by Scotland in the Euro 2020 fixture at Wembley on Friday. Scotland’s resolute and disciplined defending earned them their first point of the campaign. This is a great development after losing to Czech Republic in their opening match of Group D last week. England were just a shadow of their performance against Croatia five days ago. However, England are almost sure of going through to the last 16 as they have four points now. But Gareth Southgate has reasons to worry going ahead. Harry Kane once again had a mediocre game in Euro 2020 and the midfield was conservative in their approach.

Scotland came into the match with a clear plan to sit back and defend and hit the opposition on counter attack. They executed that very well. Scotland could have scored a winner if they were a bit more clinical up at the front. England on the other hand lacked the creative spark. No one was able to make things happen for them. Meanwhile, the Scottish defense handled the English attackers very well.

Scotland fail to CONVERT chances in Euro 2020 encounter

Scotland’s right wing-back O’Donnell delivered a fine cut back after some good build-up play between Billy Gilmour and John McGinn. But, Che Adams did not get a good connection and had his shot blocked by John Stones. Seven minutes later, Stones rose above everyone in the box to connect his head to a corner from right-wing. But the Manchester City defender’s free header hit the post. Stones should have done better. It was the closest England got to scoring.

A minute after hitting the woodwork, Sterling stole the ball from McTominay and laid the ball to a running Mason Mount. But, his attempt at the near post missed the target. Meanwhile, England captain Harry Kane’s first touch inside the opposition’s penalty area came in the 28th minute. His diving header from a Reece James cross went wide.

Best chance of the match was created by Scotland just before the half-hour mark. O’Donnell’s first time volley from left-wing-back Andrew Robertson’s cross was brilliantly saved by England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. It was probably Pickford’s best save in the tournament so far. The Everton man got down quickly to push the ball wide with his strong right arm.

Two minutes after restart, Mount cut inside from the left flank and fired in a low right-footed shot. However, that was denied by David Marshall’s fine save at the near post. England could manage to create only half chances. James fired a shot just over the crossbar from the edge of the box. At the other end, James made a goal line clearance to deny Lyndon Dykes.

Billy Gilmour- Man of the Match

England boss Gareth Southgate has problems to solve. Scotland has surely exposed some flaws in the English team. Midfielders Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice had a below par game. Both of them lacked creativity and couldn’t dictate the game when pressured.

The Scottish midfield marshalled by Gilmour had a brilliant game. The 20-year-old, who made his debut for Scotland was named UEFA’s man of the match. His composure on the ball, range of passing and tenacity left the Scotland fans applauding him off the pitch after 76 minutes.

The Chelsea player won the ball eight times and had a pass completion of 91% which was more than any other Scotland player on the pitch. Steve Clarke was impressive with his selection and tactics.

England will next play Czech Republic on Tuesday whereas Scotland will take on Croatia. England’s qualification is almost certain as no team in the history of a 24 team major tournament- World Cup or European Championship- has failed to reach the last 16 after securing four points in the group stage.

Meanwhile Scotland will need to beat the 2018 World Cup finalists on Tuesday to go through to the round of 16. They will definitely take a lot of confidence from Friday’s game and fancy their chances against a Croatian side that isn’t at their peak.

Sportslumo Desk

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