Scotland’s Euro fate is decided tonight, with a fair few caveats.
Thanks to Billy Gilmour and Stephen O’Donnell’s storming performances at Wembley (yes, we credit SOD, he had an excellent night), Scotland remain in contention to get through to the next stage of this massive competition.
Steve Clarke, let’s face it, cocked up the team and the system against the Czechs, but in his defence they are by some distance the best team in Scotland’s group and are probably going to beat England tonight.
He righted a bit of a wrong with a far better performance at Wembley, down to SOD’s resilience and Gilmour’s class, but ultimately Scotland still haven’t scored and have to do that against Croatia to have any chance of progression.
Croatia, for their part, have been as horrible as England in these Euros – two highly rated sides who evidently believed their own hype and thought they only had to show up to win.
Dalic’s side have also badly missed Borna Barisic’s delivery from the left, with that flank proving completely sterile for the Balkan nation without him. We’re pretty sure the Barisic and Rangers-haters from their support pre-Euros have gone pretty quiet given how rotten Gvardiol has ended up being.
As for Scotland – they are the only side in the Euros not to register a goal, and that’s pretty damning.
You can praise the performance/result v England but that’s just the usual plucky Scotland plaudits – to actually get anywhere you need to score, and Clarke’s men don’t seem capable of doing that at this level.
Che Adams and Lyndon Dykes are Scotland’s ‘star strikers’ and frankly that’s slim pickings. Adams is a decent lower PL striker but that’s really it – Scotland can’t rely on him or goal shy Dykes to find the net.
And of course Clarke’s side has to do it all without their best player, Gilmour.
Too big an ask? Probably. Croatia are poor this tournament but they’re still a better team than Scotland, and without the class of Gilmour, this will be a tough night for the Scots.
The result v England seems to have erased the rotten showing v the Czechs, with more importance about the opponent than the fact Scotland still can’t score. Even North Macedonia have scored and they’re the ‘minnow’ team.
Either way, it will be compelling viewing, and end of the day, the league/group table doesn’t lie – whoever goes through will have earned it.