Last updated June 21st, 2021
England look to build on what was a pleasing start when they welcome Scotland to Wembley in their second Euro 2020 Group D game on Friday night (8pm; TV: Live on ITV). For the first time in 25 years, the neighbours will go head-to-head in tournament action.
Will Gareth Southgate’s men make it two from two? Or can Steve Clark’s visitors improve on their opening efforts and cause an upset? Read on for our England vs Scotland Euros preview with betting tips.
It wasn’t overly eye-catching, there were few fireworks, but England got the job done against Croatia and have laid solid foundations from which they can build. Getting over the line in the first game of a major tournament always takes precedent over everything else, so Gareth Southgate will undoubtedly have been pleased. He may have been slightly concerned with England’s lack of clear-cut scoring opportunities, especially against a team that doesn’t exactly possess the hardiest of back-lines. Then again, the Three Lions defended well when they had to, prevented their opponents from creating much in the way of chances and dictated the play, so all in all it was a respectable start.
While England got off to a quietly steady start in London, the Scots faltered in Glasgow, beaten by the Czech Republic, despite playing in front of a roaring home crowd at Hampden Park. At least, it is not as if they were battered. In truth, it was a tight game, a game decided by the finest of margins, and ultimately clinical finishing from the Czech Republic’s Patrick Schick, who used his wand of a left foot to score what will probably go down as the goal of the tournament.
Although they were beaten, Scotland were far from outplayed, while they really did get into several promising opportunities. With better finishing and a bit more luck, things could have been different. So there were certainly positives for Clark’s side to take.
First game numbers
During their match with Croatia, England registered just eight shots, only two of which hit the target. Such a stat is somewhat unimpressive. In contrast, against the Czech Republic, Scotland fired off 19 shots, four of which hit the target. Now, using FIFA rankings as a guide, which should always be done cautiously, the Croats are a good bit better than Czech Republic, so perhaps we shouldn’t read too much into those numbers, though it’s easy to feel that Scotland will have plenty to offer when the pair meet on Friday.
In terms of expected goals, Scotland produced 1.8 for and conceded 0.9. England conjured up only 0.9 xG for, though they performed better than their Scottish counterparts at the other end in that respect, surrendering only 0.3.
You’d have to go back to the end of the previous century to find Scotland’s last win against the English. In 1999, they won by a goal to nil at Wembley. Since 2013, the pair have met four times. Each of those of four matches has been won by the Three Lions. When the pair last met, they played out an exciting 2-2 draw at Hampden Park. In fact, goal-filled games have been commonplace. Each of the last four renewals of this fixture have produced at least three goals, while four or more have been scored in three of those four.
Where’s the money going?
With this being at Wembley, and the general hype around this England side, as is the case at every major tournament, and with England’s recent record against the Scottish, Southgate’s men were always going to be hot favourites for this match, but should they really be as skinny as 1/3 with the bookies?
Yes, they have started to form a habit of getting the job done, and yes, they have home advantage, but it’s not as if they did anything special against Croatia, while the fact that they have not scored more than once in 270 minutes of football is a bit of a concern. Moreover, Scotland showed plenty of positives on first time out, despite losing. They attacked with purpose and played with a real intensity, an intensity that is only likely to grow against the English.
With the lines the way they are, a case can really be made for Scotland +1 goal on the Asian Handicap. Steve Clark’s side offered more in terms of chance creation in their first game than England did in theirs, while England just don’t look like a team that is likely to run away with a game right now, so if Scotland can dig deep, there’s no reason why they can’t get some form of positive result.
At the end of the day, this may well be the game where everything clicks into place for England, and they may blow their fellow brits out of the water, but based on what we’ve seen so far, there just doesn’t seem to be enough between the pair to justify such a disparity in odds. On this basis, betting on the Scottish to avoid defeat offers bettors a slice of value. So this is the betting tip we advise for this preview:
- Scotland +1 goal on the Asian Handicap @ 8/5.