The big match

England vs. Scotland: preview, predictions and possible starting XIs

Raheem Sterling says the huge Euro 2020 clash at Wembley is ‘just another game’ 

Excitement is building ahead of the highly-anticipated Euro 2020 clash between England and Scotland. On Friday evening at Wembley Stadium the two home nations go head-to-head for the first time since a 2-2 draw at Hampden Park in June 2017. 

England go into the big match looking for a second win in group D after beating Croatia 1-0 in their Euro 2020 opener last Sunday.

Scotland, who are playing in a major tournament for the first time in 23 years, lost their first group match 2-0 to the Czech Republic and head to London aiming to win their first points. 

Sterling: ‘Just another game’

England vs. Scotland is the oldest rivalry in world football and Friday’s match has been billed as one of the biggest of the Euro 2020 group stage. For Raheem Sterling, England’s matchwinner against Croatia, he only wants to focus on the present, not the past, Sky Sports reports. 

“For me, it is going to be another game,” Sterling told the Official England Podcast. “Of course, there is history but at the same time, in football you can’t get too drawn into the history, you have got to be focused on the task ahead and the task ahead is to get three points. 

“We can’t be going in there fighting old battles, we’ve got to be really concentrated. We know it’s going to be a difficult one but we can’t get drawn into what the outside world is making of it.”

Brown: ‘No-hopers’ tag can spur on Scotland

After their 2-0 loss to the Czechs on Monday, Scotland have “already been written off” and are underdogs for the Wembley fixture. But that’s “just the way I always liked it” Scott Brown said in his column for the Daily Record

Brown, who won 55 caps for Scotland, believes that being “dismissed as no-hopers” after one game in group D is “probably the best thing that could happen” to the team. 

“I know for sure when I was part of the set-up that we found it difficult every time people fancied our chances,” Brown added. “But every time we went into a game as underdogs, it was a completely different mindset.”  

For Scotland manager Steve Clarke Wembley provides his team with “a great game to bounce back in”. He said: “The players are looking forward to it, I’m looking forward to it and I’m sure the Tartan Army will as well. Every game in the tournament is a big game. I think because it's against our friends from south of the border it makes it extra special.”


Big match details

Kick-off time, TV and radio

The group D clash between the two home nations kicks off at 8pm on Friday 18 June. ITV in England and STV in Scotland will show live coverage of the game. Coverage starts at 7pm. 

Radio station talkSPORT will offer two live commentaries for the match at Wembley. An England-focused commentary with Jim Proudfoot and former Three Lions defenders Stuart Pearce and Sol Campbell will be on talkSPORT. And on talkSPORT 2 there will be a Scotland-focused commentary with Andy Bargh and former Scotland striker Paul Dickov.


From the Three Lions camp

England head coach Gareth Southgate

England head coach Gareth Southgate

Getty Images

England team news

England boss Gareth Southgate has already made a change to his squad this week. Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson has withdrawn due to injury and is replaced by Sheffield United’s Aaron Ramsdale.

Harry Maguire has returned to training but it remains to be seen whether he will be fit to start against Scotland, the London Evening Standard reports. John Stones and Tyrone Mings look set to continue their partnership in defence. 

After their commanding performances against Croatia, Kalvin Phillips and Kieran Trippier are likely to start again, The Daily Telegraph says. Phillips was man of the match last time out and Trippier impressed in an unfamiliar left-back role. Jack Grealish could also get a start. 

England possible starting XI (4-2-3-1)
  • Pickford; Walker, Stones, Mings, Trippier; Rice, Phillips; Grealish, Mount, Sterling; Kane
  • Goalkeepers: Sam Johnstone (West Bromwich Albion), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Aaron Ramsdale (Sheffield United)
  • Defenders: Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Conor Coady (Wolves), Reece James (Chelsea), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Atlético), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ben White (Brighton & Hove Albion)
  • Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Dortmund), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Aston Villa), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United), Declan Rice (West Ham), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Jadon Sancho (Dortmund)
  • Forwards: Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)


From the Tartan Army camp

Scotland defender Kieran Tierney and manager Steve Clarke

Scotland defender Kieran Tierney and manager Steve Clarke

Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Scotland team news 

Scotland boss Clarke had only one major concern ahead of Friday - the fitness of Kieran Tierney. The Arsenal defender missed the game against the Czech Republic with a calf injury but looks set to return against England, the BBC reports. 

“He’s got a chance,” Clarke said on Tuesday. “He did a little bit of light training today and we’ll see how he progresses.” 

Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour is a doubt for this one, says SportsKeeda.

Scotland possible starting XI (3-5-2)
  • Marshall; Hanley, Cooper, Tierney; O’Donnell, Armstrong, McGinn, McTominay, Robertson; Adams, Christie
  • Goalkeepers: Craig Gordon (Hearts), David Marshall (Derby), Jon McLaughlin (Rangers)
  • Defenders: Liam Cooper (Leeds), Declan Gallagher (Motherwell), Grant Hanley (Norwich), Jack Hendry (Celtic), Scott McKenna (Nottingham Forest), Stephen O'Donnell (Motherwell), Nathan Patterson (Rangers), Andy Robertson (Liverpool), Greg Taylor (Celtic), Kieran Tierney (Arsenal)
  • Midfielders: Stuart Armstrong (Southampton), Ryan Christie (Celtic), John Fleck (Sheffield United), Billy Gilmour (Chelsea), John McGinn (Aston Villa), Callum McGregor (Celtic), Scott McTominay (Manchester United), David Turnbull (Celtic)
  • Forwards: Ché Adams (Southampton), Lyndon Dykes (QPR), James Forrest (Celtic), Ryan Fraser (Newcastle United), Kevin Nisbet (Hibernian)


What the pundits say 

Predictions: who will win?

Glenn Hoddle, former England manager, via Betfair: “England have so much firepower going forward that they should beat Scotland on Friday. But it's not going to be an easy game because Scotland have got some very good players. There’s two, three, maybe four players that would get into the England squad, that’s how strong they are. Not having 80,000 at Wembley, and a lot of the Tartan Army being there, I think Scotland will be desperate to get a result in front of their fans. They play emotionally and they’ll come out and give everything. England will prepare with confidence behind them because they’ve got the win, while Scotland need to pick themselves up after their defeat to Czech Republic.I think England will start the same as they did against Croatia, go for the throat for the first 20 minutes, try to get a goal and settle down and play. I’m going 2-1 to England.”

Michael Owen, former England striker, via BetVictor: “At times it wasn’t pretty, but England got the job done against Croatia on Sunday. It was a mature performance and we must bear in mind that in any tournament, it is all about peaking at the right time, so there’s no harm in 1-0 wins at this stage. For Scotland, overall, they played well against the Czechs. They certainly had enough chances to win the match, but their lack of firepower up top is a real cause for concern. I’m really looking forward to this. I expect Scotland to have a go and be positive. I can’t see Steve Clarke instructing his side to sit in as they don’t have enough to execute a clinical counter-attack. This means we could be in for an entertaining match, but I do feel it’ll be England who take the points. It’s 2-0 to the Three Lions for me.” 

Alex Lawes, The Stats Zone: “A derby match is always built up as though anything can happen but it rarely does and, in this instance, it really shouldn’t. This is a match between one of the bookies’ tournament favourites and a team that failed to qualify via their actual qualification group but squeezed through in a playoff penalty shoot-out thanks to a relatively successful Nations League campaign in 2018. The former of those two are also at home. This should be a fairly comfortable England victory and it should also be tipped up to be ‘to nil’ given that England have conceded just five goals in their last 17 matches in a run whereby they have kept 13 clean sheets.”

Tom Kershaw, The Independent: “Scotland will come out fighting with their greater need for points than the Three Lions, but with the superior quality in Gareth Southgate’s side, we’ll lean towards hosts here, 3-1 to England.”

Matt Law, SportsMole: “Scotland desperately need to avoid defeat on Friday night, but we are finding it tough to predict anything other than a routine victory for Southgate’s side. The Three Lions were defensively impressive against Croatia, and we fancy them to keep another clean sheet in a comfortable success in the English capital. England 2-0 Scotland.”

Chris Smith, Squawka: “If England are allowed too much time and space, they possess enough playmakers and wizardry to split open even the best defences the European Championships has to offer. Even if Scotland offer stubborn resistance, [Phil] Foden has already shown his ability to conjure something from nothing, while [Harry] Kane won’t stay as quiet as he did on Sunday for long. A repeat of the Euro 96 scoreline between these two sides feels on the cards. England 2-0 Scotland.”

The Daily Telegraph: “Rivalry matches are almost always impossible to predict, but contrasting performances in the teams’ tournament openers point to a strong performance from England. Though Scotland’s tenacity was incontestable against the Czechs, an inability to convert their chances could prove fatal, particularly amidst the wealth of attacking options at Southgate’s disposal. Captain Andy Robertson will be desperate to lead his team back after they stumbled at the first hurdle. But getting a result against an England team packed with quality and playing on home turf at Wembley will be a very big task indeed for the Scots. Predicted score: England 2 Scotland 0.”

Tom Doyle, London Evening Standard: “This game is set to be played at high intensity so predictions may go out the window in the opening 45 minutes, but you would expect England’s extra quality - particularly up front - to make the difference at Wembley. Scotland were not necessarily outclassed in their opening game, but will have to tighten up at the back and find that clinical edge to stand a chance at Wembley. England 2-1 Scotland.”

Scott Newman, SportsKeeda: “This game should be full of blood and thunder and may be more akin to a Premier League fixture than a major international one – meaning anything can happen. With that said, England have a far stronger squad than Scotland and have performed far better than their rivals in their opening Euro 2020 game. Scotland looked rather toothless against the Czech Republic, and it’s unlikely they’ll be able to break England’s defense down. At the back, Scotland likely won’t be capable of keeping England’s attack quiet for too long. This should be a win for England. Prediction: England 2-0 Scotland.”


Euro 2020 group D

Fixtures, results and standings

Euro 2020 group D matchday 1
  • England (hosts), Croatia, Scotland (hosts), Czech Republic
  • Wembley Stadium: London, England
  • Hampden Park: Glasgow, Scotland
Sunday 13 June 
  • England 1 Croatia 0 
Monday 14 June 
  • Scotland 0 Czech Republic 2
Friday 18 June 
  • Croatia vs. Czech Republic (5pm, Glasgow; BBC)
  • England vs. Scotland (8pm, London; ITV/STV)
Tuesday 22 June 
  • Croatia vs. Scotland (8pm, Glasgow; ITV4)
  • Czech Republic vs. England (8pm, London; ITV)


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