Here it is. The fixture that 5.4 million Scots will have had circled in their diaries since the group stage draw in November 2019, as Scotland travel south to take on the ‘Auld Enemy’ England at Wembley.
The oldest international fixture in the world has a long history, having been played 114 times since 1872, but these two sides haven’t met since a 2-2 draw in 2017. A draw Scotland will feel they deserved to win.
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A three-minute Leigh Griffiths brace had put Scotland ahead in the 90th minute, only for Harry Kane to find himself on the end of a Raheem Sterling cross to restore parity in the 93rd. The result helped England qualify for the 2018 World Cup, and ended up being one of the reasons Scotland didn’t – so revenge will be on their minds here.
The Tartan Army won’t be heading into the game under circumstances they would have preferred though, as a 2-0 defeat to the Czech Republic on Monday afternoon leaves them in a precarious position in Group D.
A brace from Patrick Schick, the second of which will probably win ‘Goal of the Tournament’, was enough to down a resolute Scotland side that created 2.23 expected goals but failed to find the net.
England, on the other hand, will be buoyed by their first opening day European Championship win ever – Raheem Sterling’s goal enough to see off Croatia on Sunday – and will relish facing the Scots at Wembley.
The Man in the Middle
Taking control of this battle is the maestro himself, Antonio Mateu Lahoz. Three weeks after running the show at the Champions League Final, the Spaniard is in the hot seat again for this encounter.
In La Liga last season, he dished out 84 yellows in just 18 games (4.67 per game) and showed five bookings per game in his seven Champions League outings – as well as giving five penalties.
Lahoz also took charge of Belgium’s 3-0 dismantling of Russia in Matchday One of Euro 2020, but didn’t show a single card.
It’s tough to see past an England win here. Unfortunately, with a best price ⅓ on offer, the bookies feel the same.
With that in mind, we’ll be exploring some stats based selections in this one.
First up, I like John McGinn to Commit Over 1.5 Fouls at 7/5. This is a huge occasion, especially for Scotland’s players, and the Aston Villa midfielder is no stranger to a rough challenge or two. He’ll be tasked with dealing with England’s creative players, which potentially includes clubmate Jack Grealish.
McGinn committed two or more fouls in all three of Scotland’s recent World Cup Qualifiers, and in six of his last seven Premier League games.
I’d also recommend a dabble on Scotland to Commit Over 11.5 Team Fouls at 9/10. The Scots have passed this mark in 11 of their last 13 games, whilst England have been on the receiving end of 12 or more in nine of their last 10 matches.
Elsewhere, I’m looking at a BetBuilder of England Over 0 Cards and Scotland Over 1 Card at 6/4 with bet365. For reasons above I’m not sure this needs much explaining – but England have averaged 1.1 card for and 2.3 cards against over their last 10 games, whilst Scotland have been shown an average of 2.3 and have seen their opponents given 2.2 per game in their last 12 competitive internationals.
Whilst cards have been at a premium so far in the tournament this game could see tensions boiling over, and one man the occasion could get to is Scotland’s Andy Robertson.
The Liverpool full-back plays full throttle all of the time and the 9/2 about him picking up a card is definitely intriguing.
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