Steve Clarke’s men have real players, as Souey would say this time around. John McGinn, who does it brilliantly at Aston Villa and one of my favorites after his time at Hibs, is a versatile midfield force. The Scots are in the lucky / slightly boring position to have their other top two players play in the same, uh, position. Andrew Robertson and Kieran Tierney would both go into just about every team in this tournament as a left-back, but obviously only one of them can make it into this Scottish squad. Sam Dean will explore more in depth how Clarke adapts to everything shortly.
With the big game coming up against England on Friday, Scotland probably need to get something here. Croatia looked like a shadow of their identity in the 2018 World Cup against England, but could well start, who knows. Whichever group they were in, Scotland weren’t going to be among the most wanted teams but the game against England is such a specific situation that they can perhaps cause surprise. Either way, Clarke will tell her boys to forget about this and focus on the problem at hand.
The Czechs are not where they were when they came second in Euro 1996, or even when they were third in 2004. Keep an eye out for Vladimír Darida from Hertha Berlin, he’s an absolute dynamo and holds the Bundesliga record for distance covered in one match. It could be a hectic afternoon in the midfield.
The Czechs favor a no-frills 4-2-3-1, with a right side entirely of West Ham de Coufal and Soucek providing dangerous overloads on the right. Fortunately, the left is where the Scots have THEIR best players, so this could be a big tactical battle. Kick-off is at 2pm, I’ll bring you all the preparation and team news until around 12.30pm, then it will be up to the mighty Rob Bagchi for the match blog.