On Saturday evening two old rivals will meet again at Hampden Park as Scotland seek revenge over the ‘Auld Enemy’ after they fell to an embarrassing 3-0 thrashing at Wembley in November in a major blow to their hopes of World Cup qualification with this fixture potentially proving decisive for both sides.
Both sides are in Group F for this World Cup qualifying campaign, but it is England who are in the far better position with five games played. The Three Lions are unbeaten, with four wins and a 0-0 draw away against Slovenia, meaning that they currently top the group on 13 points.
Scotland do not possess such a strong position as they find themselves in fourth, in a group of six, on seven points and two behind Slovakia in their pursuit of a play-off place if they cannot catch their southerly neighbours. A win over Malta was expected, whilst another win against Slovenia and a draw with Lithuania did little to make fans believe that they can expect a trip to Russia next summer.
Gordon Strachan is likely to name an unchanged line-up from the one that impressed against Slovenia with a 1-0 win in their last qualifier in March, although he has recognised the power of the confidence that his squad members from Celtic may have after an unbeaten season and having won a cup title only weeks ago.
England’s major injury doubts have seen Jamie Vardy and Nathaniel Clyne both withdraw from the squad, allowing Harry Kane to be confident of a start with Kyle Walker likely to get the nod over Kieran Trippier at right-back. Dele Alli will continue in the number 10 role in Wayne Rooney’s absence from the squad.
Score Prediction: Scotland 1-3 England
These end of season internationals always tend to be a disappointment, but this rivalry should heat things up just a little bit. Scotland lack quality and organisation, but England will need to turn up if they are going to see them off at their home stadium. No complacency can be afforded here.
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