The Three Lions opened their Euro 2020 campaign with a 1-0 win over Croatia on Sunday, while Scotland suffered a 2-0 loss to the Czech Republic, with Steve Clarke’s side now having ground to make up in Group D.
Raheem Sterling scored the only goal of the contest against Croatia on Sunday, as England started their Group D challenge with an important victory at Wembley. In truth, it was a relatively comfortable match for the Three Lions against a Croatia side that struggled for inspiration in the final third.
There were plenty of positives aside from the result, though, with Kalvin Phillips excelling in the middle of the park and Sterling finding the back of the net despite his inconsistent form for Manchester City last term.
Gareth Southgate’s side will now be eyeing a second successive win at Euro 2020, which would take the pressure off ahead of their final Group D fixture against the Czech Republic on June 22.
England have actually now been victorious in their last seven matches in all competitions, conceding just once during that run, and the fact that Ben Chilwell and Jadon Sancho did not even make the bench against Croatia is an indication of the strength present in the current squad.
The Three Lions, who have not made it past the quarter-finals of the European Championship since reaching the final four in 1996, are unbeaten in their last four games with Scotland, although the two nations played out a 2-2 draw when they last locked horns in 2017 during qualification for the 2018 World Cup.
There is no firm pressure on England to pick up a win on Friday, but the same cannot be said for Scotland, who are in a tough position due to their disappointing two-goal defeat to the Czech Republic on Monday.
The Scots had their moments in Glasgow but conceded late in the first period to Patrik Schick, before the Bayer Leverkusen attacker scored a stunning long-range effort to make it 2-0 early in the second half, and Clarke’s team just could not respond at Hampden Park
Scotland, who finish their Group D campaign against Croatia on June 22, are playing in their first European Championship since 1996, when they also famously took on England in the group stage, and first major tournament since the 1998 World Cup.
Clarke’s team were always outsiders when it came to claiming a top-two spot in this group, but a positive result on Friday would leave them in the mix, for second or third, ahead of their final game with Croatia.
The Scots will unquestionably be fired up to take on their rivals on Friday evening, but it remains to be seen whether they have enough quality across the park to upset an England side that might actually be wary of topping the section, considering that Portugal, France or Germany could be waiting in the round of 16.