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Euro 2020: Group D and the Battle of Britain

It may have taken two penalty shootouts in the qualification stages, but after overcoming both Israel and Serbia, Scotland progressed from Path C to qualify for Euro 2020 – and face a showdown against long-standing rival, England, in Group D. It has been a long time coming for the Scots, who last qualified for European competition in 1996, when also facing the Three Lions in the group stages.

It’s fair to say that the odds are stacked against Steve Clark’s side at this early stage, but an exciting prospect lies ahead – with every single group game being staged on British soil. With both Scotland and England hosting, Wembley Stadium and Hampden Park will be welcoming fans back to their venues – but with 11 host cities, there’s no such thing as a home advantage.

More specifically, the England vs Scotland betting odds are firmly in the favour of Gareth Southgate’s side – and it’s not surprising, given their experience and reputation on the big stage.

England vs Scotland head-to-head

The two nations have played each other more than any other – recording 113 official meetings between the sides. The first fixture took place in November 1872, played at Hamilton Crescent in Glasgow – now more commonly known as a cricket venue – finishing in a goalless stalemate.

It’s been nearly four years since the old foes clashed, with the two British nations meeting in qualification for the 2018 World Cup. Both paired in Group F, England won their home match 3-0, while the reverse fixture finished in a 2-2 – with both teams scoring late on, but England snatching a point through Harry Kane’s 93rd minute strike.

England wins: 48

Scotland wins; 41

Draws: 24

Rewind to Euro 96

We all remember when eight cities in England played host as the motto ‘Football’s coming home’ rang around stadiums, right? Of course, that didn’t quite go to plan – but there was still an exciting match-up in Group A as England and Scotland faced each other. The only two home nations in the tournament.

Scotland gave a reasonable account of themselves, drawing with the Netherlands in their opening game, before facing England – then managed by Terry Venables. Two second half goals for the hosts sent them to the top of the group, with Alan Shearer and Paul Gascoigne netting – the former going on to be the tournament’s top scorer.

A win against Switzerland in their final group game wasn’t enough for Scotland to progress to the quarter-finals – and after tying with the Netherlands on their head-to-head result, as well as overall goal difference, they were eliminated on goals scored – having only score once in three matches.

Scotland at the European Championships

It is only Scotland’s third appearance at a European Championships, and further to their exit at the group stages in 1996, they suffered a similar fate in 1992. After being grouped with the Netherlands, Germany and the CIS (who were only in existence for a year), they finished third in group 2.

Back when games were only scored two points for a win, in addition to the one point for a draw, Scotland suffered defeat in their opening two matches to the Netherlands, and eventual runners-up Germany, picking up two points in their final group game.

Looking ahead to Euro 2020

Scotland have climbed four places in the FIFA World Rankings, and sit 44th, and they are unbeaten in their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign. However, they haven’t been truly tested – and that will change in the upcoming championships. Facing two group winners (England and Croatia) and one runner-up, in the Czech Republic, will certainly prove a challenge. Fire power has proved Scotland’s downfall on the international stage – and as the old adage goes, goals win games,

Wembley plays host to the big game on June 18th.


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