England are playing host to Scotland tonight for the first time in 14 years. Their most recent matches being back in 1999 where they had to play 2 legs in order to attempt to get into the 2000 European Championship. The first leg was held in Scotland at the Hampden Park in Glasgow in front of 50,132 fans. Paul Scholes was the main man for England as he scored both of their goals for a 2-0 away victory.
Only 4 days later and the two teams played each other in the second leg at Wembley in front of 76,848 people. Scotland needed at least a 2-0 victory in order to take the match into extra-time, but the Scottish only won 1-0 due to a goal from Don Hutchison meaning England advanced to the 2000 European Championships tournament as they won 2-1 on aggregate. One of the most famous games between England and Scotland was in 1961 when England won 9-3 at Wembley Stadium in front of 97,350 spectators in a thrilling match which saw Sir Bobby Robson among the 5 English goal scorers.
Scotland’s boss, Gordon Strachan, believes that this match tonight will be very intense just like it was in previous matches where Strachan has played. Strachan admitted that he never really felt the intensity when he was playing, but now that the two teams don’t play on a regular basis, it is a much more intense rivalry. Strachan thinks he won’t need to motivate his team much. The players will already be pumped up for the game against England, and the fact that it is being played Wembley in front of, what is predicted to be a sold out crowd, will certainly help build the rivalry.
This year, even though it is just a friendly between the two sides, the match will be very heated as English players from clubs will want to get a win over the fellow Premier League Scottish players and vice versa. For instance, Englishmen Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka are bound to want to win so they have the bragging rights over fellow Everton player Steven Naismith, who is likely to star for Scotland. Furthermore, the match will be spurred on by the watching fans who will want their team to triumph as they will then have bragging rights over their neighbour country.
England are very much tipped to win with odds at 2/5 whilst the odds of Scotland leaving the victors are 7/1. Last night, England’s Under-21s dominated Scotland’s Under-21’s putting 6 behind the Scottish and conceded no goals. Whilst there were goals galore in the younger match, there may not be for England tonight as Wayne Rooney has club problems on his mind.
The transfer window is now open and Rooney has been linked with Chelsea, but is apparently not allowed to leave Manchester United. Chelsea don’t seem to be able to make a high enough offer. Hopefully Rooney will not let his club situation affect his international performances as he is very much a key player for the England squad having played in 83 games and scored 36 goals. Nevertheless, Rooney has reportedly confided in England captain Steven Gerrard, who also insists that the Red Devils striker is ready for tonight’s game.
Goalkeepers – Ben Foster, Joe Hart, John Ruddy
Defenders – Leighton Baines, Gary Cahill, Ashley Cole, Phil Jagielka, Glen Johnson, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Kyle Walker
Midfielders – Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Jack Wilshere, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott, Ashley Young, Wilfried Zaha
Forwards – Jermain Defoe, Rickie Lambert, Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck
Author Daniel Foster.
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