Scotland vs England
Competition: Europe World Cup Qualifying
Date: 10 June 2017
Kick-off: 18:00 CET
Chris Martin’s goal in the 88th minute of their last game versus Slovenia at home, in March, gave Scotland the right to keep dreaming of finishing second in the group. They may be sitting fourth, but are just two points below second-placed Slovakia, whom they will host before the qualifiers are over. The Scots have definitely lacked consistency, their 1-1 draw at home to Lithuania was particularly disappointing (for their fans), but excluding England, the rest of the contenders in this group look rather balanced between each other, Malta-aside, obviously. It’s interesting something Mark McGhee, the assistant of Scotland coach Gordon Strachan, said, just before the game. McGhee believes that if Scotland beat England, it will be one of their biggest successes ever, equal to a famous 1-1 in Cardiff against Wales in 1985, which helped the Scots qualify for the World Cup finals (Mexico, 1986).
Even friendly games against Scotland are important to the English, let alone an official match in World Cup qualifiers. This, as a… remainder to anyone who may think that England will look less focused than usual, just because they are easily first in the group, and are expected one way or another to get the direct ticket to the World Cup finals. Jamie Vardy, injured, had to withdraw from the squad on Thursday. That was Gareth Southgate’s last-minute problem, not a huge one though, since England have the roster to cope with this, or any, almost, other, last-minute withdrawal. England have dropped just two points so far, in Slovenia, and it’s definitely impressive that after five games they still have not conceded a single goal. They are the only team to have five clean sheets in as many games so far in these qualifiers.
Scotland vs England: Head-to-head Stats
Scotland have hosted England 58 times in the past, and, what a source of honour and pride for them, they have a better record than their neighbors, at least as hosts. They have 24 wins, 14 games have ended in a draw, while the English have claimed 20 victories.
Scotland vs England: Prediction
I have no doubt that the Scots will… bleed, if needed, to get a positive result, but I just don’t feel they are good enough to beat England. Honestly, I don’t even see them earn a draw. I’m backing the visitors to win, simply because they are much-much-much better.
Scotland vs England: Tips
A simple England win pays 1.70. For some, this may be enough. Given how solid their defence has looked in all five group games so far, for more than 1.70, an England win while also keeping a clean sheet, at 2.50, may be worth the risk.