Written by Ese Agboaye
After all the US elections shenanigans, let’s focus on what’s really important.
England face Scotland at Wembley, in what’ll be the first competitive fixture between the sides since the Euro 2000 play-offs. Don Hutchison scored in the second leg, but the damage was already done in the first leg which saw two goals scored by Paul Scholes.
You’d have to go back to June 1977 for the last time Scotland beat England. (I know Scotland did beat England in the second leg of their Euro 2000 play-off, but I wouldn’t count it, you can if you want).
The last time the sides faced each at Wembley, was in August 2013. Goals from Theo Walcott, Danny Welbeck, and Rickie Lambert saw England convincingly beat Scotland 3-2, with the two Scotland goals coming from James Morrison, and Kenny Miller.
They met once more in November 2014. Two Goals from Wayne Rooney, plus one from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain saw England beat Scotland once again, with the consolation goal coming from Andrew Robertson.
That’s enough of the history lesson now, let’s focus on Fridays crucial encounter.
Both sides have defied FIFA rules, and have gone ahead to wear a poppy on Remembrance Day.
A win for England would see Gareth Southgate’s side extend their lead at the top to 10 points. However, with Scotland not far behind in fourth place, with three points currently separating the sides, England know that this is a game they cannot afford to take lightly.
The inclusion of Jamie Vardy over Charlie Austin has shocked many, given the stark differences of their goal scoring records. I reckon Vardy being included over Austin is a confidence boost for Vardy, as he hasn’t scored a lot of goals this season, and Southgate has put Vardy in the squad over Austin to see if he can get the best out of him. Vardy has four goals to his name on the international front, with those coming against Germany, Netherlands, Turkey, and Wales.
Aaron Cresswell has been called up, along with Jordan Pickford following injuries to Danny Drinkwater, and Fraser Forster.
Southgate has said that Jordan Henderson, and Rooney will be starting. My thoughts on Rooney starting irks me a little bit as I feel he’s not in the best of form. Maybe his form will pick up from here on in. I’m not saying that’ll he’ll go on a goal scoring run, but I reckon he’ll be creating chances, and putting a few in the back of the net himself.
England have not lost a major tournament qualifying match since October 2009, they lost to Ukraine on that occasion. They’ll be raring to keep up that impressive record come Friday.
England will want a fast paced match, though Scotland will try their best to slow the game down, which’ll probably see England not pick up maximum points for the second time running. England have scored three goals so far in qualifying, whilst their opponents have scored five. On the flip side, England haven’t conceded any goals, and Scotland have had five shipped past them, so I’m expecting this to be *quite* entertaining. For that reason, I’m going for a 2-1 win to England.
What are your predictions for this match? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image by Rob