England and Scotland will meet for the 100th time in competitive internationals on Friday in a match that could prove pivotal to their respective Euro 2020 campaigns.
The Three Lions began Group D with a 1-0 win over Croatia at Wembley, while Scotland suffered a 2-0 loss to the Czech Republic, Patrik Schick scoring from a header and then a quite remarkable strike from near the halfway line.
This is typically a high-scoring match: these teams have met 32 times previously at England’s national stadium and none of those matches has ended goalless. In the 21st century, this fixture averages four goals per game, with England scoring 11 and Scotland five overall.
Victory for Gareth Southgate’s side would guarantee their place in the last 16, while a positive result is a must for Scotland: should Steve Clarke’s men lose and Croatia fail to beat the Czech Republic, the Scots will be unable to finish in the top two and must rely on their chances of ending up as one of the four best third-placed teams.
Recent history is not on Scotland’s side. They have beaten England just once in their past 11 meetings: a 1-0 win at Wembley in November 1999, secured by a Don Hutchison goal. Their only previous meeting at a major tournament, back at Euro 96, saw England win 2-0 thanks to goals from Alan Shearer and Paul Gascoigne.
England defender Harry Maguire, who has declared himself fit enough to be involved after recovering from an ankle ligament injury, expects “a great occasion” when Friday’s game begins at 20:00 local time.
“Of course it is a big game,” said the Manchester United captain. “Any game in the Euros is a massive game, putting Scotland in there as well is huge.
“It is going to be a great day, a great occasion for the country to get together and push us forward and try our best to go and get the three points and perform on the day.
“It will only be a great day if we get the three points and then I am sure we will enjoy the occasion.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
England – Kalvin Phillips
Arguably the best player on the pitch against Croatia, Phillips delivered an accomplished display, assisting Raheem Sterling’s goal as he completed 95 per cent of his passes in the opposition half, the most of any starting player.
With Jordan Henderson struggling to be fit, the Leeds United man could well keep his place for a game in which his passing array could prove useful.
Scotland – David Marshall
Marshall made five saves against the Czech Republic but still came in for criticism for Schick’s second, given how far he was off his line when Scotland’s attack broke down.
The Derby County goalkeeper could be pivotal to Scotland’s chances of a result here, though, as England will be expected to create opportunities.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– England have won all six of their matches in all competitions in 2021, only the third time they have won their opening six matches of a calendar year (also in 1909 and 1986). They have never won their first seven in a year previously, while the Three Lions last won seven consecutive games between September 2014 and March 2015 under Roy Hodgson.
– Scotland have failed to score in five of their seven matches at the European Championship. The only games in which they have found the net have been in their third and final group games of their two previous appearances (3-0 vs CIS in 1992, 1-0 vs Switzerland in 1996).
– Scotland had the highest expected goals tally of any of the four sides in Group D on matchday one (1.9). However, they were unable to convert any of 19 attempts in their defeat to the Czech Republic.
– Sterling has been directly involved in 19 goals in his past 17 appearances for England (13 goals, six assists). Sterling has ended on the winning side in all 11 previous matches when he has scored for the Three Lions, the best 100 per cent win record in games scored in England’s entire history. He has also played the most games for England at Wembley without losing (23 – W21 D2).
– Andy Robertson created six chances for Scotland against the Czech Republic, the most of any player in Group D on matchday one. In fact, in European Championship history only Gary McAllister (16) and Gordon Durie (seven) have created more chances than Robertson among Scottish players, despite those players playing at least four games more than the Liverpool defender.
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