Steve Clarke’s boys are into the final match-day of the Euro 2020 group stage. After an astonishing draw against Gareth Southgate’s England, Scotland are expecting three points against Croatia that could give them a chance for the Round of 16.
After the 2-0 loss against the Czech Republic in the opener, Scotland were considered as the underdogs in group D. But, the Wembley fixture against rivals England revamped their status in the group with a valuable one point. Also, the 1-1 draw between Croatia and the Czech Republic extended the suspense to the final match-day in Group D.
2018 Russia World Cup finalists Croatia are yet to display a decent fight in Euro 2020. Zlatko Dalic and the golden generation of Croatian football haven’t reached the level expected from them in the competition. The final game at Hampden Park would be a decider for them also. A draw won’t serve the purpose for both sides and all eyes are on Group D in match-day three.
Here is the predicted lineup of Scotland against Croatia for the final encounter of the group stage.
The Solid Backline
Goalkeeper David Marshall is expected to retain his position in front of the goal against Croatia. The 36-year-old keeper had a decent display against the firing attacking line of England at Wembley. He can tie up the Croatian attack which is out of form in this competition.
Steve Clarke is expected to continue with the three-man defence in the final match-day. Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay has proved his defensive ability as a centre-back in the fixtures against the Czech Republic and England. He, along with Kieren Tierney and Grant Hanley, will cover the backline of Scotland against Croatia. Kieran Tierney’s return in match-day two showed the importance of the Arsenal player in the back-line. He was solid with the ball at Wembley and so was Grant Hanley.
Momentum in Midfield
The five-man midfield lead by Andrew Robertson can craft the play in the centre circle at Hampden Park. Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour would be missed in the final match-day action due to Covid-19. Missing Gilmour in midfield affects the attacking pace through the gaps. When asked about the injury, Scotland boss Steve Clarke said:
“Obviously it’s a blow for us in terms of the team”
“Billy would have started now he won’t, so it’s a chance for someone else to come in and make themselves a national hero.”
Stuart Armstrong is expected to return to the lineup for Gilmour. The 29-year-old Southampton midfielder had a decent show in the opening fixture against the Czech Republic. Stephen O’ Donnell will control the play on the right flank. Callum McGregor and John McGinn will continue as the pivot in midfield against Croatia. Andrew Robertson is certainly the first name on the team sheet as he can guarantee enough quality on the left-wing.
Che Adams-Lyndon Dykes attacking pair isn’t a celebrated one. Both the players lacked clinical finish against England. They are yet to score for Scotland in the competition and the fixture against Croatia is decisive for their reputation in the Tartan Army.
Match-day three will be a thriller with the vague outfit of the group. As per opinions from the pundits, Scotland should give a full stretch fight to celebrate their return to the major competition after 25 years. Also, they need to assure some good performances to uphold the upgraded status of the team.
England vs the Czech Republic will affect the table order if the Hampden Park clash ends in a draw. Beating Croatia is viewed as a tough task for Scots, but they did some magic in Wembley and hence, no room for predictions!
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