Goalless draw between England and Scotland

England and Scotland played out a goalless draw at Wembley to leave both countries hoping to reach the Euro 2020 knockout stage alive.

The first meeting between the men’s teams in the major tournament since Euro 96 was played in a bad situation. Despite only 22,500 fans and both sides had a great chance of winning.

The majority of the honors must go to Scotland. However, returning from their opening defeat by the Czech Republic at Hampden Park with natural resilience and character to fully qualify for this critical point.

The Tartan Army were elated at the final whistle as the England players heard the sound of loud mockery from their supporters.

England, sluggish and frustrated, had to take the lead as John Stones headed Mason Mount‘s corner against the woodwork.

As Scotland settled and improved, England thanked Jordan Pickford‘s superb save from Stephen O’Donnell. A goal-line clearance from Reece James to divert Lyndon Dykes‘ goal-bound shot after the break.

With a win over Croatia in the bag, Gareth Southgate’s side has a chance to overtake the Czech Republic and win Group D in their final game. At the same time, Scotland will chase victory against Croatia at Hampden Park.

Scotland adopts Wembley plaudits.

The Scottish players breathed a sigh of relief when the final whistle blew. And they received a point that keeps them in the mix going into their final game.

Manager Steve Clarke put his team in good shape and, once they had survived a shaky start, they gave as much as they could. 

The heroes’ welcome they received when they thanked the rain-sodden Tartan Army at the final whistle was justified.

Scotland adopts Wembley plaudits (Source: Evening Standard)
Scotland adopts Wembley plaudits (Source: Evening Standard)

England had many assets in the second half, but this should not be portrayed as a Scottish defensive act. 

It was anything but, yes, they were forced back for periods. But they were always optimistic, demanding an attack, and it required significant intervention from James to deny the Dykes victory.

And for 20-year-old Billy Gilmour, in his early Scottish career, they had a great player in the game. 

The Chelsea midfielder was showing his class in football and the real spirit of fighting physical challenges. It was an outstanding, mature show.

Arsenal’s Kieran Tierney also showed how much he missed out on the Czech defeat with a powerhouse performance that should give Scotland real hope against Croatia.

Clarke got it right, but his English counterpart Southgate has some questions to consider. There is no doubt who will be the happiest manager.

Kane is worried when England is desperate.

England was doing better than admiring Croatia on Sunday. But it was a big deal of work being done to set the stage for an old rivalry where the Euro 96 reunion repeats.

Instead, England faltered after a promising start despite Raheem Sterling’s outrage when Spanish referee Antonio Mateo Lahoz ignored his requests for a second-half penalty kick when he tangled with Andy Robertson.

Kane is worried when England is desperate (Source: Super Sport)
Kane is worried when England is desperate (Source: Super Sport)

England did not deserve to win. But they are in a very healthy condition when they go to their last game.

That doesn’t mean Southgate can be satisfied after a very disappointing night, especially as he faces a dilemma he never imagined before the tournament.

Captain Harry Kane was poor before his substitution against Croatia on Sunday. And he was equally anonymous here. 

Moreover, he looked sluggish, off the pace, and short on a threat. It was no surprise when Marcus Rashford replaced him with 16 minutes left, even though England desperately chased a winner.

Kane has been starved of exemplary service in his defense to suggest that his position in question is unthinkable. Southgate wants and needs more than it is from his world-class captain.

And Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish can now also play a significant role in the equation. However, he has not been able to change the pattern of the game after replacing Phil Foden.

England’s fans had made Grealish very much the people’s champion. And they were chanting his name long before he eventually came on.

Will Southgate bow to their demands and launch against the Czech Republic after being shown a lacking spark of England?

England is in an excellent position, but it will have to be much better.

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