With England listed as one of the top contenders to win the tournament, you can understand why English football fans will be in confident mood ahead of this summer’s European Championships. A relatively favourable draw, combined with the fact that numerous matches will be played at Wembley in London, and many fans are optimistic that England can enjoy a run to the latter stages of the competition.
However, it’s important that Gareth Southgate and his team keep their feet firmly on the ground. They cannot afford to take any liberties in the group stage, especially when their opponents include Scotland, who will be highly motivated to make an impression in their return to the major international tournament scene. The two sides square off on June 18th, and although England are the firm favourites to win the match in the England v Scotland betting odds, they must avoid falling into the pitfalls of complacency.
A worthy opponent
While England are certainly a superior side to Scotland on paper, anything can happen in a big game at a major tournament, and coach Steve Clarke will be preparing his side to cause an upset. England v Scotland is a fixture as old as time, and in the last few years there have been some close matches between the two teams.
The last meeting between England and Scotland was in June 2017, and a thrilling 2-2 draw was the result, with Harry Kane’s last-gasp equaliser saving England from defeat at Hampden Park. Scotland’s Leigh Griffiths had scored twice in the last five minutes to give the home side the lead before Kane spared England’s blushes.
There’s no doubt that Scotland have the quality to push England close at Wembley on June 18th, and any lapses of concentration will undoubtedly be punished.
None of this current Scotland side will have experienced playing in a major tournament before, and as a result they will be extremely motivated to do themselves justice. Their first match is against the Czech Republic, and should Clarke’s men emerge with a win from that fixture, their confidence will be through the roof going into the game against England.
The last thing Southgate will want to see is a match where Scotland want the win more than England. With quality players like Andy Robertson, Scott McTominay and Ché Adams lining up against fellow Premier League stars, we’ll witness a game where most of the players know each other’s games inside out. With that in mind, Scotland might just fancy springing a surprise.
Chance of a lifetime
England have a major opportunity to go far in a big tournament. With matches being played at Wembley, and the chance to win a trophy on home soil, Southgate should have no problem motivating his troops for every match, particularly against their old rivals Scotland.
If England take it one step at a time, and avoid falling into the trap of thinking they have group-stage progression all wrapped up before a ball is kicked, they should be fine. They cannot afford to take Scotland lightly — the last thing Southgate and his team wants is to be remembered for another catastrophic failure in a major international tournament.