Scotland’s long-awaited return to a significant worldwide match was ruined by Patrik Schick’s slick ending because the Czech Republic received 2-0 at Hampden on Monday to maneuver prime of Euro 2020 Group D. Schick’s header simply earlier than half-time opened the scoring, however it was his beautiful strike from simply contained in the Scotland half after the break that can stay within the reminiscence as one of many all-time nice European Championship targets. After a 23-year wait to qualify for a significant match, Scotland’s hopes of constructing extra historical past by getting out of the group for the primary time now look slim.
Steve Clarke’s males face England subsequent on Friday at Wembley earlier than internet hosting World Cup finalists Croatia at Hampden on June 22.
Playing in entrance of followers at Hampden for the primary time since November 2019 with 12,000 in attendance, Scotland made a nervous begin.
David Marshall was the hero of penalty shootout wins over Israel and Serbia to qualify and was wanted early on to show Schick’s highly effective effort on the close to put up behind.
The hosts have been desperately lacking the driving runs and poise on the ball usually offered by Kieran Tierney on the left facet of a again three.
Clarke has settled on a 3-5-2 to make approach for 2 of the Premier League’s finest left-backs in the identical workforce.
Without the Arsenal defender, Liverpool’s Andy Robertson was his facet’s greatest risk with a collection of rampaging runs.
His cross was turned narrowly extensive by Lyndon Dykes on the close to put up earlier than the Scotland captain was denied a second to recollect by Tomas Vaclik.
Robertson burst onto Ryan Christie’s move however his shot that was headed for the highest nook was tipped over by the Sevilla goalkeeper.
A cagey sport of few probabilities burst into life after Schick’s towering leap put the guests in entrance three minutes earlier than half-time.
Scotland have been sluggish to react after initially clearing a nook and the Bayer Leverkusen ahead rose highest to flick residence Vladimir Coufal’s cross.
Marshall was referred to as into motion to make two fast saves from Schick and Vladimir Darida in an explosive begin to the second-half.
But twice Scotland have been inches away from levelling when Jack Hendry’s dipping effort got here again off the crossbar earlier than Vaclik clawed away a mishit clearance from Tomas Kalas.
However, the house facet have been surprised by a second of brilliance from Schick on 52 minutes as he noticed Marshall off his line from midway and bent in an unbelievable shot from simply contained in the Scotland half.
Chances continued to come back and go for Scotland as Stuart Armstrong’s shot was deflected onto the roof of the web and Vaclik’s outstretched leg denied Dykes from shut vary.
But it was Schick who had the very best alternative late on to finish a memorable hat-trick when he fired too near Marshall.
Beating outdated rivals England would greater than make amends for the Tartan Army’s disappointment, however Scotland now have a mountain to climb if they’re to forestall their long-awaited journey ending in acquainted style.
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