UEFA EURO 2020 Group D
Scotland 0 - 2 Czech Republic
Monday, 14 June 2021
Hampden Park, Glasgow
Scotland suffered a 2-0 defeat against Czech Republic in the opening Group D match in UEFA EURO 2020.
Goals either side of the break from Patrik Schik dealt the Scots a sore blow at Hampden Park in front of 10,000 supporters.
Steve Clarke's side were denied a route back in to the match by an impressive performance from Tomas Vaclik in the Czech Republic goal as Jack Hendry also rattled the crossbar.
Steve Clarke was without the crucial Kieran Tierney for the opening match, calling upon Liam Cooper on the left of a back three alongside Grant Hanley and Jack Hendry, with skipper Andy Robertson and Stephen O’Donnell in the wingback areas. They were in front of Serbia penalty saving hero David Marshall.
Scott McTominay was joined by Stuart Armstrong and John McGinn in the middle of the park, with Ryan Christie supporting Lyndon Dykes in attack.
AS IT HAPPENED
Roared on by Scotland supporters returning to Hampden Park, Steve Clarke’s side started with drive and intensity, working the ball well down the left on a couple of occasions for the rampaging runs of Robertson, who was full of energy right from the off.
The Czech’s did well to soak up the early pressure and responded with perhaps the best opening chance of the game from an early set piece. Darida sent a pinpoint in-swinging delivery towards the back post but it evaded everyone and flashed wide of the post.
Moments later, Marshall produced a superb stop to deny the lively Schik from breaking the deadlock with a thunderous effort from just inside the box.
Shortly before the 20th minute, it looked as though the Scots had taken the lead when Robertson again was fed in to space and his driven low cross was side-footed just wide of the post by the arriving Dykes.
Just past the half hour mark, Scotland carved open a wonderful chance when Christie spotted the run of Robertson, who had acres of space in front of him, before slipping it perfectly in to his path. From just inside the box, the skipper ran on to it and struck it first time but it was well saved by Vaclik who tipped it over the bar.
The lively Liverpool star then turned provider, sending in a pinpoint corner towards McGinn, who twice saw his efforts blocked before the visitors looked to break, only to be denied by the superb recovery pace of Hanley who snuffed out the danger.
With just minutes remaining in the first half, Czech Republic took the lead through Schik. Following a corner, the Czech’s managed to keep possession high up the park and Coufal sent a superb cross on to the head of Schik, who glanced the ball in to the bottom left corner past the dive of Marshall.
Clarke made one change at the break as he looked to immediately get his side back in to the match, with Christie making way for Che Adams.
The Czech’s came storming out after the break, forcing two good saves from Marshall early on, but the Scots responded well, with Adams making an immediate impact with his composure on the ball.
Just three minutes in to the second 45, the crossbar denied Scotland from levelling the score. From an out swinging delivery, the ball fell for Hendry who looked up and curled his effort over the keeper but on to the bar.
In the 52nd minute, Clarke’s men were dealt a crucial blow when Schik scored what could well be the goal of the tournament to double his side’s advantage. Hendry, opting to shoot from range, saw his effort blocked in to the path of Schik, who collected the ball just inside the Czech half, spotting Marshall off his line before sending an incredible effort over the Scotland stopper from nearly the half way line.
Scotland responded strongly though and pushed for an all important goal and avenue back in to the match.
Armstrong went close on the hour mark, driving towards the box and striking a low effort on goal which deflected up and on to the roof of the net.
In the positive ten minute spell that followed, Scotland’s efforts were matched by some exceptional goalkeeping from Vaclik.
Dykes saw two efforts in as many minutes blocked by the Czech stopper. The first was a scramble in the box which the QPR striker turned towards goal and the second looked certain to find the bottom corner, only for a brilliant outstretched leg to deny the frontman and reduce the deficit.
With just over 20 minutes remaining, Clarke introduced Callum McGregor and Ryan Fraser in place of Armstrong and Hendry, with McTominay dropping back in to defence.
Czech Republic began to control proceedings as the clock ticked on, and in an attempt to turn his side’s fortunes around, Clarke made his final changes in the shape of Kevin Nisbet and James Forrest, replacing Dykes and O’Donnell.
Forrest showed his quality going forward with a mazy run, starting from just inside the Czech half and jinking his way in to the box. Shaping the ball on to his left foot, the Celtic winger’s strike was blocked behind for a corner.
With four minutes of added time, Scotland continued to search for that first goal of the tournament and went close again, this time through Nisbet. The striker peeled off to the back post where a wicked Robertson cross found the forward, but his header was blocked.
It was the last action of the match as Clarke’s men turn their attention immediately to Wembley and a clash with the Auld Enemy.
Scotland: Marshall, O’Donnell (Forrest, 79’), Hendry (McGregor, 67’), Hanley, Cooper, Robertson, McTominay, McGinn, Armstrong (Fraser, 67’), Christie (Adams, 45’), Dykes (Nisbet, 79’)
Unused subs: Gordon, McLaughlin, Taylor, Turnbull, Patterson, Gilmour, McKenna
Czech Republic: Vaclik, Coufal, Celutska, Kalas, Boril, Kral (Holes, 67’), Soucek, Masopust (Vydra, 72’), Darida (Sevcik, 87’), Jantko (Hlozec, 72’), Schik (Krmencik, 87’)
Unused subs: Zima, Brabec, Mandous, Kaderabek, Pekhart, Barak
Attendance: 9, 847