It was 25 years ago this week that England defeated Scotland in Euro 96 and Friday’s clash between the pair could produce a familiar outcome.
Although the sun that bathed Wembley that day may not reappear, the Three Lions again look set to roar in the 114th meeting between the pair.
England Ready for Wembley Repeat
Sunday’s 1-0 opening Group D win in steaming temperatures against Croatia at Wembley was a fine way for England to start their campaign and they are
11/2 to go all the way this summer.
Despite missing Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson, the hosts produced a controlled display, with that duo’s replacements Tyrone Mings and Kalvin Phillips especially strong.
Both are set to be available on Friday but Gareth Southgate, who played in that game in 1996, could well stick with an unchanged XI.
Another win, which would see England qualify for the last-16, is just
1/3 and probably reflects Scotland’s torrid showing in their opening 2-0 defeat to Czech Republic.
Steve Clarke’s men simply failed to get going in front of a vibrant Hampden Park crowd and are
10/1 to claim a victory in Group D, with the draw
A chance to upset the ‘Auld Enemy’ at Wembley will give the Scots plenty of motivation but it is tough to see them producing the requisite quality to get the job done.
Defences Win Tournaments
Despite the doubts over England’s back four of Kyle Walker, John Stones, Mings and Kieran Trippier, they controlled the Croatians well and deserve another bite of the cherry.
Southgate described Trippier, whose selection at left-back raised eyebrows, as a “defensive animal”, and the quartet proved that England can indeed play a back four without Maguire.
After their somewhat freewheeling approach at the 2018 World Cup, Southgate has focused on shoring things up at the back in the years since. That call has been greeted with frustration at times but England have now kept clean sheets in six of their last seven.
Scotland have struggled for goals over the last couple of decades and had to rely on two penalty shootout wins to reach their first major finals since 1998.
England winning with another clean sheet is
20/27, while the
19/5 on another famous 2-0 Euros victory has to be considered.
Another Sterling Showing from Raheem
As referenced above, Southgate’s selection against Croatia was not universally popular before kick-off, with another of those sneaking in being Raheem Sterling.
By his own admission, the Manchester City man has had a less than satisfactory season but his exploits over the years mean he has money in the bank with the Three Lions staff and he cashed in against the Croats.
Sterling netted the only goal of the game as he latched onto Phillips’ through ball before unleashing an effort with just enough power to sneak past Dominik Livakovic.
With renewed confidence, the 26-year-old will be desperate to show he again deserves a place in the side ahead of the likes of Jack Grealish and Jadon Sancho and is a handy
21/10 in the Anytime Goalscorer market.
*All odds correct at time of writing