The Warmdown: Scotland fall to defeat in their Euro 2020 opener
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JUNE 14: Andy Robertson of Scotland is seen at full time during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group D match between Scotland v Czech Republic Hampden Park on June 14, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Two goals either side of half-time were enough for the Czech Republic to grab all three points against Scotland in their opening game of Euro 2020 in Group D.

Despite the Scots enjoying the larger amount of possession, they just could not convert their opportunities. The Czechs on the other hand made the most of their chances, with one being a powerful header and the other being a potential goal of the tournament!

  • Tierney absence a major blow

The biggest surprise was the omission of key defender Kieran Tierney from the starting line-up for Scotland. Steve Clarke told the BBC that the Arsenal man had picked up a slight niggle in training during the week, sidelining him for the opening game.

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Although only one man, this was a massive blow for Scotland. To compensate for the lack of one of their main men at the back, Clarke had to reshuffle his back line. Sadly, Tierney's presence was not replaced.

The makeshift defence did not seem to click for the Scots, with the players struggling to find their shape. It would have been a great opportunity to throw in Nathan Patterson down the right-hand side, to help give Clarke and his men some width down both flanks, with skipper Andy Robertson operating down the left.

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Unfortunately, the Rangers youngster could only find a place on the bench and Robertson struggled to make his usual impact without Tierney by his side. 

Alternatively, another option would have been to use Scott McTominay in the heart of the defence, with the Manchester United midfielder more than capable of filling in for Tierney and he would have offered the experience and ball-playing-know-how that Scotland were desperate for at the back.

  • Two great goals for the Czechs

The Czechs managed seven shots on goal, with two finding the net. Their first goal was a superb header from Patrik Schick, which came from some good build up play down Scotland's left hand side. The Tartan Army were disorganised positionally and the Lokomotiva took full advantage.

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Schick was able to get in between two of the Scotland central defenders and then managed to get up early to beat them in the air. What was more impressive was the technique in the header, as it was not a simple finish by any standards.

Their second goal was simply a thing of beauty. Schick struck again with a fantastic first time effort from near the half-way line, which swerved tremendously into the empty Scotland net, with keeper David Marshall running back helplessly only to see the ball hit the back of the net.

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It would have been easy to criticize Marshall's positioning here, with the Derby County man starting quite far up the pitch when the ball fell to the Czech Republic. With the lack of pace of the Scottish defenders, perhaps he was being utilized as a sweeper keeper to shore up any balls over the top.

Ultimately, he was beaten by Schick's long-range effort and sometimes you just have to say that a goal is simply a good goal. Even if Marshall was a few more yards closer to goal to begin with, it would have taken a great save to keep the shot out.

  • Disconnection up top for Scotland

With 19 shots and only four on target, it was a poor night for Scotland up front. After two great performances from their front men in the warm-up games, nothing seemed to click against the Czechs.

Ryan Christie would have been very disappointed with his performance, with the Celtic man struggling to make any impact on the game. With the forward struggling for form all season, it is no surprise to see his international form suffer as a result.

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Although they played against ten-men in the Luxembourg game for most of the match, Lyndon Dykes and Che Adams looked like they had some chemistry up top. Their finishing was still suspect, but they both looked dangerous and would have definitely made the Czechs sweat more if they had both started against them.

Adams was instead given a place on the bench and Dykes never really looked like causing the Lokomotiva any trouble. What was more worrying was the lack of impact John McGinn had on the game.

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The Aston Villa man played most of the game as the deepest midfielder of the three in the middle, meaning that he could not influence the game higher up the pitch. The Scottish forward line were desperate for a supporting midfielder and McGinn should have been that player.

There was also no Billy Gilmour either in the starting eleven or as a substitute coming off the bench. The youngster was very bright against Luxembourg and in a game where Scotland needed a creative spark, Gilmour could have been the man to offer that.

Scotland can now only look forward and learn from their mistakes in this defeat. There are still two games to play and the squad needs to believe in its ability to win points if they all perform to their best.

A positive from the match came from the roaring support from the Tartan Army. Football has missed fans and they are the life and soul of the game. Sadly, even they were unable to help their team out this time around, with the second goal all but killing the atmosphere around the ground. 

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With a trip down to Wembley on Friday to play England in another historic Auld Enemies clash, Clarke and his men will not get the same amount of possession or shots that they did against the Czechs. If they do not become more clinical, they will find themselves out at the first hurdle of the competition.

But Scotland like the tag of underdogs when it comes to playing the English and all the pressure will firmly be on Gareth Southgate and his men come Friday.

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