Scotland’s dream of making history through progressing at Euro 2020 came to a bitter end with a tragic defeat by Croatia in Hampden.
With both sides aware that the winner would advance to the 16th finals, Nikola Vlasic pointed to the World Cup finalists in the first round to silence the national stadium in Glasgow.
However, thunderstorms just before half-time from Callum McGregor caused 12,000 fans to explode in a cacophony of hope.
The margin of victory was also enough to give them a second place in the group ahead of the Czech Republic with goals scored, with both teams advancing to the last 16.
Hampden heaves after the early silencer.
This was a typical Scottish event, and the nights almost contradicted the concept. But they made perfect sense of the thousands who had gathered on the south side of Glasgow. Thousands who dreamed of reaching the knockout stages of the big tournament for the first time.
It was a night when things had to be done the hard way, Scottish Road.
In the pre-tournament, the best shot to win seemed to be against the Czechs. But, instead, defeat was achieved. Next up was the toughest game, but heroism was the name of the day at Wembley, with Billy Gilmour leading the way.
So the team that won the final at the World Cup was inspired by Hampden’s rich dreams of victory. The win was supposed to be collected without Gilmour, who was found to have a Covid-19 on Monday.
Scotland also had to reach the goal line in the tournament. Twenty-eight shots were fired in the first two games, but none took away the festivities.
In 10 seconds, the Scots were the team they were looking for, winning the corner quickly.
The early signs were good as Hampden repeated with a thousand roars Doh a Deers and Che Adams came close to getting John McGinn’s funny ball in the face of the ball. Maybe this was really happening?
Then came the first blow. While the force emphasized the point in London, the raking cross was allowed to be pinged to the Scottish post. After that, Perisic overtook Stephen O’Donnell, and Vlasic burst to break the ball at home.
Hampden was silent. Peace continued as Scotland tried to reunite.
McGinn was also at the heart of it. The Aston Villa man hung across, the back post with no takers. It was recycled and, when he found a way back to him, a faulty shotgun panicked around Dominik Livakovic’s post. Another opportunity is gone.
Grant Hanley was badly injured when Steve Clarke was forced to make changes. Scott McKenna came and was booked right away. That was the intensity of the Croatian waves moving forward and Modric pulling strings.
However, the nation roared as one. The Croatian defense did not carry Andy Robertson’s cross. And when it landed on McGregor, a Celtic man hit the ball into the bottom right corner through a corridor of flying corpses. Hampden stood up as McGregor celebrated with a commotion.
Clinical Croats end dreams of the nation.
The second half started with new confidence. But it shouldn’t have had a foundation for the Scots.
Within five minutes, Josko Gvardiol was each denied by David Marshall. However, the Scottish goalkeeper will help his country after a time when Croatia is under pressure.
After that, the doors slide for a while. Then, finally, Stuart Armstrong dropped his wandering shoulder with a beautiful ball coming back. McGinn appeared to be magic. But he could not correct his step and somehow sent a wide ball from the yard news.
Just three minutes later, the Croats hit again. Modric was given time and space after being sacked by Mateo Kovacic, and without his right boot, the 35-year-old led the ball into the net high.
As Scotland progressed, the game ended in a tournament with 13 players. Perisic climbed to the front post in the corner and led the ball from behind. Scotland’s dream of the Euro was over.
At the sound of a full-blown whistle, Hampden rocked the sound, “We’ll be down the road.” But, of course, those fans will be hoping to see this popularity again.