England v Scotland: A tactical preview from what went right against Croatia

England face an old foe in Scotland on Friday and the fans will be expecting a big performance in the sides second group game.

Scotland come into the tie off the back of a 2-0 defeat to the Czech Republic whilst England will look to make it two from two after securing a 1-0 win in a grudge match against Croatia.

Despite scoring only one against the fellow World Cup semi-finalists, there were plenty of positives to take into the next two group fixtures. 

  • Mings made up for missing Maguire

Harry Maguire wasn't part of Gareth Southgate's squad for Croatia and his replacement certainly did the job in the heart of England's defence. 

Tyrone Mings had his fair share of critics heading into this tournament but he would have kept a lot of them quiet with his performance yesterday. 

Statistically, he impressed with a pass success rate of 90%, two duels won, six recoveries and four interceptions. The other benefit of Mings playing is his favoured left foot, being a left-footed centre-back when Keiran Trippier is playing left-back is useful. 

Embed from Getty Images

If Maguire doesn't appear in the group games Mings will be a suffice replacement for both Scotland and the Czech Republic.

  •  King Kalvin

It was like Kalvin Phillips was playing his own game of king of the ring when it came to the midle of the park last Sunday. He impressed England fans the most after his man of the match performance as part of Southgate's 'double pivot'.

The Leeds United midfielder also provided the assist to Raheem Sterling's finish, proving he was a vital member of both the attack and defence. 

Embed from Getty Images

Not many people knew what to expect when Phillips would step in for Jordan Henderson but Phillips slotted into that role comfortably and will be a great option for the rest of the tournament.

  • Tactically versatile

Southgate may get a lot of stick for his tactics but one of England's best takeaways from the Croatia tie was that the side looks just as comfortable in a back four than a back three. 

It's likely Scotland will bring the fight to England and this is where Southgate's men can do damage in attacking areas. Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford, Jude Bellingham, Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling could punish Scotland's backline with their pace and creativity going forward. 

This could be in a front three, either in a 4-2-3-1 or a 5-2-1-3. In the defence, the tactics all depend on the centre-half options but it is likely for the Scotland game that Southgate will stick with his back four and John Stones and Mings at centre-half.

Another tactical advantage from the game was being able to play Trippier at left-back, where he was competent. It highlights the depth in full-back positions, positions that will be key for England's tie with Scotland. 

If the visitors bring the game to England they will need a full-back capable of attacking and going forward, and even without the two used against Croatia there is still Luke Shaw and Reece James, both of who could start Friday night.

It is safe to say despite injury concerns England have options for the Scotland game and the rest of the tournament and could go far if they use them wisely.