England v Scotland International Friendly Match Preview

The two rivals are going head to head in a match celebrating the 150th anniversary of their first meeting.

England versus Scotland is one of the most highly anticipated international fixtures in football history. The two rivals met competitively for the first time on Saturday, 30th November 1872, in what was a 0-0 draw at the West Of Scotland Cricket Ground. FIFA has officially recognised this match as football’s first-ever international fixture.

England secured the first victory in this fixture a year later in 1874 when they were 4-2 winners against Scotland, who, after a draw in 1875, got their revenge on their rivals with a 3-0 win in March 1876.

115 matches have taken place between these two nations since 1872. Fast forward to 18th June 2021, when England and Scotland met most recently in the Group Stages of the EURO 2020. And, just like the first fixture, the match ended in a goalless draw. This came 25 years after their first encounter in the Euros, which came in the Group Stages of EURO ‘96. England won 2-0 on that occasion thanks to goals from Paul Gascoigne and Gary McAllister.

Out of the 115 matches, England has a superior record of 48 wins compared to Scotland’s 41 victories as of the time of writing. There have been 26 draws in this fixture to date. This fixture has also been full of goals. A total of 377 goals have been scored in their 115 meetings. England have the most goals with 203 compared to 174 for Scotland.

Steve Bloomer, formerly of Derby and Middlesbrough, is the leading goal scorer in this fixture, with 8 goals in 10 matches. George Ker is Scotland’s top scorer, with 7 in just three games. Ker is joint second on the all-time leading scorers chart with fellow Scotland international John Smith.

Now, on Tuesday, 12th September 2023, England and Scotland will meet in a friendly fixture at Hampden Park to celebrate the 150th anniversary of their first-ever competitive encounter. The game is set to get underway at 19:45.

Starting with Scotland they have been in excellent form in recent times. Steve Clarke’s side have 4 wins in their last four matches – they have been Cyprus (3-0), Spain (2-0), Norway (2-1), Georgia (2-0) and Cyprus again (3-0).

All of these matches are UEFA EURO qualifiers, and Scotland lead the way in Group A with 15 points, 9 ahead of Spain in second. They look likely to secure their place at EURO 2024 in Germany.

Gareth Southgate’s England are also in excellent form with 4 wins from their last 5 matches. The Three Lions have beaten Italy (2-1), Ukraine (2-0), Malta (4-0) and North Macedonia (7-0). A 1-1 draw came against Ukraine in England’s most recent EURO Qualifier. Southgate’s side also lead the way in their group, sitting top with 13 points, 6 ahead of Ukraine in 2nd place.

Regarding team news, Scotland boss Steve Clark has no fresh injury concerns and a fully fit squad. England will be without Jack Grealish and Trent Alexander-Arnold – both players withdrew from the original squad due to injury.

This is what England Head Coach Gareth Southgate has said ahead of the match (via England Website): “This is a very good Scotland team, there is no question about that. Steve Clarke has done a brilliant job. I really like Steve. He is a very understated guy, but he is a real competitor, and he is an excellent coach.

“He has done a brilliant job with the team, they have some very good players and they are on a very good run and full of confidence. Tomorrow night is a great game.

“I don’t see any international football match as a friendly. You are trying to test yourself, you are representing your country, you are trying to prove yourself, you are trying to learn as a team, so they are all fixtures of the highest level.”

As for Scotland’s Steve Clarke, he has said (via Scotland’s Website): “We know we’ll have a real challenge on our hands. Not only are England serial qualifiers for the major tournaments they have performed exceptionally well under the guidance of Gareth Southgate, reaching the World Cup Semi-Final in 2018, the EURO 2020 final and the last eight of the World Cup in 2022. They have a very talented and experienced squad, who will travel here looking to end our current run of positive results.

“Having said that we want to beat them every bit as much as they want to beat us. This should make for a full bloodied contest played in the right spirit in front of a full Hampden Park, which I’m sure will generate a magnificent atmosphere. In some friendlies you can perhaps relax a little, but not this one.”

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