England take on old foes Scotland at Wembley on Friday night, with three valuable points at stake on the road to the next World Cup in Russia.
Gareth Southgate remains in charge of England (and appears almost certain to get the job on a permanent basis) while defeat at Wembley could well see the end of Gordon Strachan’s tenure in charge of Scotland.
There’s a lot more than pride at stake on Friday, as defeat for the away side could see their chances of qualifying for Russia all-but evaporate. The hosts, meanwhile, will want to avoid having to scrap for top spot if at all possible.
Danny Drinkwater and Fraser Forster have also pulled out of the original squad, with Sunderland’s in-form goalkeeper Jordan Pickford coming in for the latter.
Scotland welcome Scott Brown back into the squad, with the Celtic midfielder deciding to reverse his international retirement. Scotland have few injury concerns heading into the match, which should please Strachan no end.
Possible Starting Lineups:
Southgate has already confirmed that Rooney will start, as will Daniel Sturridge, which means the returning Harry Kane will almost certainly be on the bench. Adam Lallana could come into the team but whether Eric Dier starts depends on where Rooney plays.
For Scotland, the returning Brown is likely to start, with Barry Bannan likely to drop to the bench from the side that faced Slovakia. In attack, Strachan must decide between Chris Martin and Steven Fletcher to lead the line.
England: Hart, Walker, Cahill, Stones, Rose, Dier, Henderson, Sterling, Rooney, Lallana, Sturridge
Scotland: Marshall, Paterson, Hanley, Russell Martin, Wallace, McArthur, Brown, Fletcher, Snodgrass, Ritchie, Fletcher
As the oldest international fixture in the world, it’s safe to say these two have previous. First contested in 1872, England and Scotland have since squared off 111 times. Of those games, the English have the better record with 47 wins, but the Scottish aren’t that far behind with 41 wins.
However, England have dominated this fixture over the past number of meetings. Of the last ten fixtures between the two, England have won seven, Scotland two, and the remaining match a 0-0 draw in 1987.
Four of the last five meetings have also gone England’s way:
- Scotland 0-2 England (European Championship), 15th June 1996
- Scotland 0-2 England (European Championship qualifying playoff first leg), 13th November 1999
- England 0-1 Scotland (European Championship qualifying playoff second leg), 17th November 1999
- England 3-2 Scotland (Friendly), 14th August 2013
- Scotland 1-3 England (Friendly), 18th November 2014
The malaise has set in around Scotland’s campaign already – a defeat here could finish it off. Strachan is unlikely to be Scotland manager at the turn of the year, and that kind of uncertainty can be toxic to a squad of players. The only hope they have is that they can rouse themselves up for such a significant match.
England, despite, having no permanent manager right now, look altogether more settled. They are not perfect by any means, but they have more quality than this Scotland team and if they play to their best ability they should win comfortably.
Read More About: adam lallana, chris martin, Daniel Sturridge, dele alli, England, gareth southgate, gordon strachan, jordan pickford, Scotland, scott brown, steven fletcher, Wayne Rooney, world cup 2018