Scotland displays impressive run ahead of Euro 2020 play-off with Israel

Scotland are top of our Nations League group after the opening two games of the campaign ahead of the Czech Republic, Israel and Slovakia. They will look to get their campaign consistent so they can have a good start as they take on Israel in Euro 2020 play-offs. The Euro 2020 play-offs, now scheduled to take place on 8 October and 12 November will decide the final four places at the tournament.

Australian-born Lyndon Dykes scored his first international goal as Scotland avoided embarrassment against a makeshift Czech Republic side but laboured to a 2-1 win in Group B2 UEFA Nations League clash in Olomouc. Under Steve Clarke, Scotland are now unbeaten in five internationals and will be trying to win four in a row for first time since 2007.

Prior to the match at Olomouc, Clarke, whose side drew 1-1 with Israel in their opening match at Hampden Park, was asked whether there was more pressure on his men to return with all three points, he said: “If people want to say that, that’s fine. We don’t run away from that.”

“It is the same buildup for us,” said the former West Brom boss, who revealed there would be some changes in personnel and perhaps also a change in formation from the back three deployed at Hampden Park. Scotland host Israel in a Euro 2020 play-off semi-final on October 8, while Czech Republic have a friendly with Cyprus a day before.

The Sheffield Wednesday full-back Liam Palmer hopes Scotland have now embarked on a roll that will take them all the way to Euro 2020. “We’ve got a bit of momentum now. We’ve got four wins from five and we’re top of our Nations League group,” Palmer told in an Scottish Football Association interview. “We’ve got it all in front of us with the qualification games for Euro 2021 as it is now.”

“We didn’t have much to work off before the game. Normally we’d go through four or five videos but this time we obviously weren’t privy to that,” Palmer added. “But sometimes you’ve got to react as a group on the pitch. It’s not always down to what the manager tells you. If you spot something during the game it’s up to us as players to deal with it.

European heavyweights England, world champions France, holders Portugal and Belgium all enjoyed winning starts to their UEFA Nations League campaigns even if there were signs of slowing down caused by the coronavirus shutdown. England needed a stoppage-time penalty to beat Iceland 1-0 while France saw off Sweden by the same scoreline.

The 32-team European Championship, in celebration of the governing body’s 60th anniversary, was due to be taking place between June 12 and July 12 in countries all across the continent. Matches were due to be played in London, Baku, Munich, Rome, Saint Petersburg, Amsterdam, Bilbao, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Dublin and Glasgow.