미디엄y abiding memory of the summer of 1996, like many, is Paul Gascoigne’s incredible individual goal against Scotland. Who could forget that dink over the top and volley in England’s win? It was a turning point in the tournament, having managed only a draw in the opening game against Switzerland. It galvanised the team and the country, something England will be aiming to repeat on Friday.
Winning matches against your biggest rivals can change the course of a season or tournament, as they have an extra edge. Against Scotland many of the 영국 players will be up against club teammates, people they have known for a long time, so the banter in the buildup to this match will have started two years ago when the draw was made.
에서 2019 Women’s World Cup, we played against Scotland and spent a long time trying to get into the heads of our friends who would become the Auld Enemy for a day. There is no malice, it is generally lighthearted but whether it’s a Sunday league match or a European Championship group game at Wembley, you never want to lose to your mates. However the tournament concludes, being able to return to pre-season having got one over on your friends is certainly good for the ego.
The chat will have stopped once the England players entered the tournament bubble. You throw yourself into it and you are solely focused on winning. Once the game is over, the emotions have calmed down and you know you probably won’t meet each other again in the tournament, you might offer them some luck and have a bit of a chat.
Gareth Southgate will have earmarked a plan for this fixture a long time ago. He will have bespoke ideas for each match and although everything worked perfectly against Croatia, we are likely to see changes on Friday. It will be a match more suited to ball-playing midfielders, as England can anticipate having plenty of possession. There was a lot of clamour for Jack Grealish to be brought on against Croatia but Southgate knew it was not the right moment Against Scotland, 하나, he could be the perfect choice thanks to his ability to carry the ball forward.
Kieran Trippier’s performance was rightly praised but it does not guarantee he will feature at left-back again. Southgate is a strategic manager and using his best full-back in a specific role against a team with pace down the flanks was perfect for the occasion but Scotland have very different strengths and weaknesses. England finally have the squad depth to change things game-by-game and Southgate will tailor his team to the opposition.
Momentum is key in tournament football and a second win will put England through to the knockout stages. It was the first time England have won an opening fixture at a Euros and a second victory would be fantastic for morale and confidence with the squad. Taking maximum points against Scotland would also allow Southgate to rest players for the final game, while planning for the knockout stages, to make sure everyone is in the best physical state for the business end of the tournament.
Despite being favourites, it will not be a simple equation for England, as Scotland will want to bounce back from defeat to the Czech Republic. They will still think they can progress and will want to do themselves justice at their first major tournament in 23 연령. They have a great spirit inside the group led by Andy Robertson, who bought all the team gifts, keepsakes and home features, which was a nice touch. Getting one of your rivals in their own back yard is enough motivation for any team.
The England players will be helped by the fans in the stadium, who will be desperately hoping for a Gascoigne moment. Against Croatia the fans made a real difference. I was pitchside and could feel the energy in the stands.
England impressed in the first half but could not get the goal they deserved. There was a marked change in the atmosphere when the subs were sent out to warmup, lifting the crowd, and it was no coincidence that Kalvin Phillips made a dynamic run and pass soon after to set up Raheem Sterling for the goal. That is the sort of impact a crowd can make, especially after so long without them.
There are times when you have the ball and you hear the home crowd, it is like someone has just turned the volume up in your ears. It sends a shock through your body, you become more aware of your surroundings, you know exactly where you are on the pitch and it puts opponents on the back foot. England will want to harness that once more.
As Gascoigne inspired a summer through his goal and unforgettable celebration in 1996, this generation of England players will be seeking to replicate him to ignite their Euro campaign. These are the games to make legends and there are plenty capable of becoming one in the England squad desperate to do so in front of a raucous Wembley crowd. They have the Wembley stage calling them, all they have to do now is prove what they can do.