England will cruise to a win over rivals Scotland

Almost to the day 25 years ago, England beat Scotland at Euro 96 2-0 in an encounter mostly remembered for the iconic goal and celebration of Paul Gascoigne. Now, just as then, there is an obvious ability gap on paper between the two oldest rivals in international football, and differing fortunes from their first matches in this year's competition. The Three Lions, without creating much themselves, beat a toothless Croatia 1-0, whilst their neighbours north of the border succumbed to a 2-0 loss at Hampden Park at the hands of the Czech Republic. Gareth Southgate's men got the result they wanted without hitting top gear, and there is the suspicion more is to come from them. Read our preview here:

Kane and able?

With the likes of Jadon Sancho, Harry Maguire, and Jack Grealish all still unlikely at this juncture to come into the XI, Southgate may well decide to stick with the same members that started at the weekend, though Luke Shaw might be considered at left-back in place of Kieran Trippier. Leeds United's midfield terrier Kalvin Phillips was undoubtedly the man of the match against Croatia, and he'll be hoping to squeeze the life out of any Scottish attacks through central areas, most obviously coming from Aston Villa's scheming John McGinn. Elsewhere, more of the focus will be on Phil Foden to put in a more prominent performance to assuage calls for Grealish or Sancho to replace him when fit, and equally, star striker Harry Kane must be more involved in both the approach play and at the sharp end to keep the triumvirate in dark blue occupied. He too cannot take his berth for granted when there will inevitably be a degree of squad rotation for the final group game.

Top Tierney

Steve Clarke badly missed Arsenal's Kiernan Tierney on Monday. His rapport with Andy Robertson on the left side of the back three/five has hitherto been their main outlet other than McGinn for creativity, though he'll also be hoping the ball can stick to the front two with greater frequency and efficacy than last time out. Che Adams had a cameo from the bench against the Czech Republic, but ought to start to give his teammates in midfield another passing option with his pace and movement. Celtic's James Forrest could be on the opposite flank to Robertson from the outset, and many of the nation's loyal fans will be desperately hoping for an appearance by youngster Billy Gilmour, who is also on the longlist for the Golden Boy award.

Wilting thistles

Even if Gilmour and Adams do start, it's difficult to foresee a way in which Scotland can cope with their adversaries' pressing high up the park, and they lack the same elite level of technically adept players in midfield to break that strategy. Deservedly losing what on paper has put a semblance of pressure on them to at least get a result at Wembley on Friday night, and that ought to suit the hosts down to the ground. betway have odds of 2.50 for Southgate's charges to get over two goals in the 90 minutes.


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