Nel 1954 Scotland went out in the group stage. Nel 1958 Scotland went out in the group stage. Nel 1974 Scotland went out in the group stage. Nel 1978 Scotland went out in the group stage. Nel 1982 Scotland went out in the group stage. Nel 1986 Scotland went out in the group stage. Nel 1990 Scotland went out in the group stage. Nel 1992 Scotland went out in the group stage. Nel 1996 Scotland went out in the group stage. Nel 1998 Scotland went out in the group stage. In Euro Not 2020 Scotland … well. They weren’t even sent homeward to think again; this time the tearful, painful exit took place at Hampden Park itself.
Would Wee Billy Gilmour have made a difference against Croatia had he not tested positive for the Great Unpleasantness and been forced to cosset himself away in a Darlo hotel with only his Xbox and a set of bongos for company? Maybes aye, maybes no, as our cousin Shortbread McFiver would have it, had he not also cosseted himself away, with only his Runrig albums and Take the High Road boxset for company. McFiver is refusing to take calls from crowing Sassenach relatives hailing Union Jack Grealish and pretending they had known all along that Bukayo Saka was the answer. He’ll be back online soon enough, probably around the time a missed shootout penalty from Declan Rice confirms the Auld Enemy has joined Scotland down the EN 2020 dumper.
At least Scotland managed to do a goal, with Callum McGregor’s cracker the equal of just about any scored amid tournament group-stage failure in Caledonian navy blue. Briefly there was hope, but then Croatia revealed that those writing them off had forgotten that Luka Modric, 67, is still a bloody marvel. As the vale of tears filled up and the Tartan Army’s Billy Ray Cyrus-b@stardising anthem at last fell silent, perhaps there was a realisation that John McGinn may not, Dopotutto, be better than Zidane and that the rest of us understood that all along.
Steve Clarke, a man whose taciturn demeanour makes Lord Ferg look like James Corden on high-strength happy pills, has much to be proud of. He’ll always have that glorious 0-0 victory at Wembley. And in Wee Billy’s absence, a classic Ecosse hard-luck tournament story, one to go alongside Wille Johnston’s positive test back in 1978. “We’ll make sure it’s not 23 years before we go to the next tournament," roared Clarke. “We can’t go another 23 anni,” tooted Andy Robertson in agreement, as Scotland’s Yes Sir, I Can Boogie floorshow reached its last dance. Exiting the group stage of the Human Rights World Cup next year is the aim now.
The Euros blog is here, while … deep breath again … Barry Glendenning will be on hand for hot MBM coverage of Slovakia 0-2 Spain at 5pm BST, when Daniel Harris will be all over Sweden 1-1 Poland, before Gregg Bakowski is at the helm for Germany 3-0 Hungary and Paul Doyle guides you through Portugal 1-1 France, both at 8pm. Phew!
“We’ve played two opponents in the Croats and the Czechs who I think are playing at a very good level and Scotland, which as an experience for our players, was quite unique. These will be different games. We know it’s world champions, European champions and Germany, who look like they’re back on song” – bring on the big hitters is Gareth Southgate’s war cry, as much as Gareth Southgate could ever make a war cry, after England topped the group by beating the Czech Republic 1-0.
Football Daily at EN 2020: here’s the latest episode.
“England’s route to EN 2020 glory (yesterday’s Fiver) looks daunting, but it’s pretty much the same for all the remaining teams. In fact it’s worse for the other 15, some of whom will have to face the eventual winner” – Robert Blanchard.
“Can I be one of the 1,057 pedants to point out that Mario Draghi’s desire to take the EN 2020 final to Rome would not actually be good for him in the polls (yesterday’s News, Bits and Bobs) as he’s an unelected ‘technocrat’ PM and won’t be standing in said ensuing polls” – David Lee (and no others).
A police officer has been convicted of the manslaughter of former professional footballer Dalian Atkinson, after firing an electric stun gun into him for 33 seconds and kicking him twice in the head as he lay on the ground. PC Benjamin Monk of the West Mercia force, was convicted of the killing by a jury at Birmingham crown court.
Munich mayor Dieter Reiter has hit out at Uefa’s decision to decline a request to illuminate the Allianz Arena in rainbow colours for Germany v Hungary. “I find it shameful that Uefa forbids us to send a message here in Munich for openness, tolerance, respect and solidarity with the LGBTQI + community," Egli ha detto. “I am also very disappointed that the DFB, despite the unbelievably clear positioning here in Munich, in Bavaria and also in Germany, has not achieved or wanted to achieve anything. We will not only fly rainbow flags at Munich town hall, but also make the wind turbine adjacent to the arena shine brightly and also the Munich Olympic Tower. Because we are concerned with a signal for a non-negotiable basic right for all people: equality and tolerance.”
Franco Foda doesn’t see the point of Austria travelling to Wembley for their last-16 date with Italy. Oh, not just in the playing sense. “As things stand, there will be almost no Austrian fans in the stadium – or Italian ones, either,” he sniffed. “I hope for the fans’ sake that a solution can be found. One option would be to change the venue.”
If Forrest Gump reckoned life was like a box of chocolates, Luis Enrique says Spain are like a bottle of cava. Cheap and inferior to other options? “As soon as we do take that cork out, as soon as we produce a complete performance and get the kind of win that gives us confidence, our best version will come out," he tooted.
Sweden might be through to the last 16 but coach Janne Andersson wants his side to beat Poland and secure extra downtime. “If we can get a longer recovery period before our next game that’s good, that little factor weighs heavily for me,” he cooed.
Netherlands striker Luuk de Jong, who has made two substitute appearances so far, is out of the tournament with knee-knack.
And Belgium’s Thomas Vermaelen is gutted that he’s not being credited with their opening goal against Finland, after keeper Lukas Hradecky got a heavy touch. “After the final whistle, looking up at the big screen, I saw it was given as an own goal,” he sighed. “But I see it as my goal, although officially it might not be. It was goal we made ourselves, not one that was the fault of the opponent. It was a perfect corner delivered and I headed it in the direction of the goal. That it is an own goal is a pity.”
Having cashed in on Emi Buendía, Norwich City have replaced him with Kosovo’s Milot Rashica for around £10m. “It has always been a dream for me to play in the Premier League and I’m so happy that Norwich have given me this great opportunity,” he cheered.
Inter have signed Turkey international Hakan Calhanoglu on a free transfer from city rivals Milan.
Manchester United’s Scotland forward Jane Ross will leave the club this month when her contract ends.
And Argentinians have marked the 35-year anniversary of this Diego Maradona goal by taking to their balconies, windows and gardens to shout “Goooooooooooooool!” at precisely 4.09pm, the minute the ball hit England’s net at the Azteca Stadium. “The goal was so incredible that it sent the whole country into a delirium,” sighed Buenos Aires muralist Leonardo Oliver.
Here’s how the group tables and knockout stages are currently looking.
And the Golden Boot race is slowly warming up nicely.
Welcome, belatedly, to the summer of Saka, writes Jonathan Liew.
“What a difference it made, in that period, having a player on the pitch who really did just seem to want the ball. Jack Grealish makes you want to talk like this, in gruff, terse cliches.” By Barney Ronay.
Luka Modric bewitched and bewildered Scotland to the EN 2020 exit, explains Louise Taylor.
Who are international football’s ultimate one-goal wonders? The Knowledge knows.
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