Scotland vs Czech Republic: Five things we learned as Patrik Schick brace breaks Hampden hearts

Scotland suffered defeat in their opening Euro 2020 game, going down 2-0 to the Czech Republic in Group D.

The Scots were excellent at times in their adventure and intent to score, but they were incredibly profligate, a trait which ultimately cost them at least a point.

Lyndon Dykes was perhaps the biggest culprit, spurning several efforts including a close-range stabbed shot at goal midway through the second half, which was saved by the outstretched boot of Tomas Vaclik. Before that, Andy Robertson had seen a drive tipped over, Stuart Armstrong’s effort was defected wide and Jack Hendry struck the crossbar.

At the other end, Czech Republic were economical in the extreme at times with their approach play, but there was rarely the sense of desperation from them to get the ball over the line that there was from the Scots.

Patrik Schick nodded in the first after a cross from the right just before half-time, before bending in the goal of the tournament so far with an incredible effort from close to the halfway line after the restart, catching David Marshall well off his line.

Here are five things we learned from the game in Glasgow.

Atmosphere and anticipation

Pre-game, national anthem, right from kick-off: Hampden Park provided the reminder of what we’ve been missing all year with a thunderous and constant stream of excitable noise.

The players were fiercely backed and applauded for every challenge, every progression down the wing and every potential shooting chance – a great and welcome addition to the background sound at any football game, but even more so now after 2020’s enforced, mundane backdrop.

Of course that atmosphere was deflated after Czech Republic scored, particularly the second, but even after that the home fans roused themselves once more to urge the team on for a late push.

Robertson leads the way

Scotland had a couple of decent performers on the day, but captain Andy Robertson was without question the stand-out.

The left wing-back provided marauding runs and a succession of brilliant deliveries for his team to attack, while he also did his usual aggressive defensive work well.

The game could have gone so differently if he had been able to bury his first-half chance, which was well-struck but saved by Vaclik.

Schick finishes

Bayer Leverkusn striker Patrik Schick was not really involved non-stop in the game, drifting in and out of the Czechs’ build-up play and simply waiting around the area for chances to fall his way.

They did, with some regularity, and he was pretty ruthless in making one of the first ones count: an angled header to find the far bottom corner after his nation had been second-best for much of the half.

His second, however, was nothing short of elite: great vision, fearless decision-making and inch-perfect weighting on the shot from very nearly 50 yards out. Goal of the tournament? We’ll see another absolute worldie if it’s not.

Lacking clinical edge

So many chances for Scotland, for absolutely no reward. The woodwork denied them and so did the goalkeeper’s gloves and boots, but really it was more down to the lack of composure and clinical edge by those in blue.

John McGinn and Dykes had four shots each and Scotland had 19 overall to Czech Republic’s 10, but the difference in confidence and expectation was obvious throughout.

James Forrest tricked his way into a great area late on too, but once more the shot couldn’t find the net.

Wembley showdown

All eyes north and south of the border will turn to Wembley, where England and Scotland will meet on Friday.

The Three Lions have the comfort blanket of three points in the bag already, but now it has become a must-not-lose affair for the Scots if they harbour hopes of progression.

It was already likely to be a tense and combative affair simply due to the nature of many of the players knowing each other and the ‘local’ rivalry between the nations.

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