Scotland are back on the big stage for the first time in 23 years and will want to make sure they leave a mark after being absent for so long and being on home soil at Hampden Park.
Scotland’s ancestral home, where they possess an impressive 76.75% unbeaten record W135, D63, L60 should give hope that they can go and win against a Czech side who have been ever-present on the international tournament stage since 1996.
Scotland are unbeaten in this fixture in four head to heads W3, D1 scoring before half time in those games, and they will look to add another win under their belts to get off the best possible start at the tournament. Their most recent competitive game against the Czech Republic was in last autumns UEFA Nations League, games that Scotland won 2-1 and then a 1-0 victory at the very same ground.
Scotland is appearing in their first major tournament, 23-years after appearing in the 1998 World Cup. And after scoring the opener before the 30th minute in their last three games W2, D1 the Scots will look to start well in order to end a winless run across their previous five opening games of a major tournament D1, L4 and scoring just one goal during those fixtures. Euro 1996 runners up Czech Republic will also be looking to get off to the best start to ensure they get out of the group stages. The Czechs have made every tournament since 1996 – the last time Scotland featured at the Euros.
Scotland are 2/87 to win the game and Czech Republic are 2/80 to win the game.
Scotland have W2, D3 in their last five games, scoring ten and conceding just five goals. Whereas Czech Republic has mixed form in 2021, W2, D1, L2 also scoring ten but conceding nine along the way.
With the Czechs playing out just one draw across the last four years, a winner appears rather likely in this game. The first goal could be critical, especially as the side netting first has gone undefeated in 12 of their previous 14 games – albeit one of the exceptions was a 2-1 victory for Scotland in a 2020 head-to-head.
He has gone from non-league to Premier League but Ché Adams’ (Scotland) fairy-tale continues after he has scored in his last two appearances for the country, and in two of his previous three Premier League games for Southampton. Czech star Patrik Schick netted the opener last time out and has been their first goal scorer with his previous three international strikes.
Jiri Pavlenka (Czech Republic) the goalkeeper is ruled out with a back injury and will be replaced by Tomas Koubek, who has featured in 11 international games so far.
Scotland possible line-up: Marshall; Hendry, Hanley, Tierney; O’Donnell, McTominay, McGregor, McGinn, Robertson; Dykes, Adams
Czech Republic possible line-up: Vaclík; Coufal, Čelůstka, Kalas, Bořil; Souček, Král; Masopust, Darida, Jankto; Schick
Steve Clarke, (Scotland): “The Czech Republic give us different problems to England and Croatia, so that can have a bearing on selection, but I am pretty settled [on the team]. The good thing for me is that no matter who I select, I expect them all to be fantastic for their country. As a manager or a coach, that’s a big thing that you can trust all your players.”
Jaroslav Šilhavý, (Czech Republic): “Scotland are sturdy, tough, and have a good defence: big, strong, aggressive. They break fast, and the forward players finish it off with individual one-on-ones, so we must be ready for everything. In our last away game against Scotland, we had many opportunities that we didn’t take, and the opponent punished us with a single goal. I think it may be third time lucky. We will get there.”
Last six form guide:
Czech Republic: WLLDWW
This game is really Scotland’s to lose as they hold an impressive home ground record and will be looking to keep the winning run going at Hampden Park. But given that it is their first international appearance since 1998, nerves may play a part and if the Czechs are on form, then they really could spoil the Scottish party in the first game.
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