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EUROS: Agents’ take on Steely Scotland, Exasperating England

For a match between two great rivals, the England-Scotland 0-0 draw on Friday may have brought both nations together.

After all it’s a near-unanimous view that Scotland was the moral victor, and England’s performance underwhelmed.

How do our agency industry pundits see it after a weekend of reflection?

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First off, our thanks to Barry Walker, director of leading Glasgow agency Walker Wylie, for his Scottish take on the match. 

There will be more Agent Match Reports here on EAT following the third and final England and Scotland group stage games - more agents’ no-holds-barred analysis will be on EAT on Wednesday. 

Over to you Barry…

So, 25 years on from Gazza scoring that spectacular goal at Euro 96, Scotland and England were back at it again. With Euro 2020 also being the first major finals Scotland have played at in 23 years, come kick-off on Friday, the country was at fever pitch.

Surely this was going to be a walk in the park for England? 

The fact that Harry Kane had just 19 touches - his fewest in an international fixture - and failed to produce a single shot on target tells a lot about how things panned out.

Scotland had more clear chances than England in a unspectacular first half, though the best opportunity came the way of John Stones, who leapt like a salmon to head the ball against David Marshall’s left hand post. 

Che Adams and Stephen O'Donnell both had the best of the goal mouth action for Scotland, with Adams denied by the leg of John Stones when Jordan Pickford was seemingly beaten, and O'Donnell's volleyed effort being parried away. 

As the teams went in at the interval it meant this was the first competitive match since November 2014 in which England failed to get a first-half shot on target.

Into the second half and England came flying out of the blocks in an attempt to take a stranglehold on the game. Mason Mount nearly had his team in front when he unleashed a ferocious 20-yard strike, which David Marshall had to beat away from the bottom-left corner. Lyndon Dykes then came close for Scotland when his shot following a corner was blocked on the line by Reece James. 

England tried their best to carve an opening that would bring them the goal their fans were screaming for, but they never really got into any rhythm, and even the introduction of Jack Grealish failed to provide the required spark. 

There was however one seriously scary moment for Scotland right at the death, with a ding dong of a goal mouth scramble, which was eventually dealt with when John McGinn hoofed the ball away to safety.

So there we have it, after a rain-soaked evening at Wembley both teams must settle for a point. 

The draw is a better result for England, as it all but ensures their qualification for the knock-out stage, but let’s hope it’s a precious point for the Scots and we can get that win against Croatia which might just allow us to join our English counterparts. 

After the difficult times we have all been experiencing, it would be a real boost to see both countries strutting their stuff together in the latter stages of the tournament.

 

 

Now for the view from England, and some words of wisdom - and quiet despair - from Kristjan Byfield of base and The Depositary.

Thanks so much for your take of the match Kristjan. The floor is yours…

For those of us who had to endure Friday night’s game, 90 minutes that I feel the BBC struggled to fill 10 minutes of highlights with, it was another disappointing night being an England fan. 

I’m not entirely sure why we tell ourselves every couple of years that we’re ‘in with a shout’ as our track record makes clear- we fail to live up to the hype time and time again. Interestingly some of our most disappointing games have been ones where, on paper, we should have walked it.

For years now, we have fielded teams made up of some of the most famous, and some of the highest paid, players in the world. We boast about our rich heritage, our world-topping Premier League and the strength of the leagues below.

However, we always have a super-striker who suddenly can’t find goal; an impenetrable back line who strangely make a sieve look effective; a midfield magician who is outdone by a children’s entertainer. As fans we believe but are left heartbroken all too often.

Whether it’s arrogance or complacency it doesn’t matter - the result (or rather lack of one) is all too often the same.

Now face a Scottish team who are the underdogs; a team that is young and relatively inexperienced, especially at big tournaments; a team that has earned its right to be here yet has little expectation of major success. 

Do they crumble at the mere sight of our prowess and mastery! Do they bleeeeeep!

They have nothing to lose and in a rivalry as old and as deep as England vs Scotland, everything to win. 

They play with passion, with fervour, with belief. Whilst they could have lost on Friday, we all know they could as easily have won. And the man of the match - the youngest, debut player on the field….playing for the underdogs.

So, whether you’re an agent or a supplier, I guess the moral is - it’s your game to lose. 

It doesn’t matter where you sit ‘in the league’ - if you don’t show up on match day mentally and physically prepared to win, you probably won’t. For those young, lean and discounted amongst you - you’re far more dangerous and effective than you’ll ever know. 

Chin up, head down and who knows what you might win by the end of it all.

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