There is something that makes England vs Scotland more than just a football match.
Perhaps it’s the genuine animosity between the two nations. Perhaps it’s the rich history between the two teams who hosted the first ever international game. Or perhaps it’s the recollection of so many iconic moments from over the years that are forever etched into our memories.
Scotland’s win at Wembley in 1977, Gascoigne’s solo strike in 1996, and most recently, England’s 2-1 victory in Nice at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
This was a match that kick-started England’s run to the semi-finals. A match where, for large parts, the Lionesses finally showcased their potential, having lost two of their four warm-up games. It was also a match that highlighted just how far Shelley Kerr’s Scotland team had come since the sides last met.
Indeed, at the European Championships in 2017, Scotland lost 6-0 to England as Jodie Taylor scored a hat-trick. But with much the same crop of players that had succumbed to defeat in that game, they pushed Phil Neville’s side close at the Stade de Nice.
The match began expansively. Any signs of nerves from either side were absent and both looked to play with intensity from the outset.
It was England, however, who found the early breakthrough. Nikita Parris scored from the spot after VAR adjudged Fran Kirby’s cross to have been handled by Nicola Doherty.
Parris had continued where she had left off from Manchester City that season. In 19 Women’s Super League matches, the forward notched as many goals and caught the eye of French giants Lyon, for whom she would later sign.
As 6.1 million tuned in to watch the game on BBC, the Liverpool-born star announced herself to a global audience –– dazzling with her footwork and causing nightmares for the hapless Doherty.
One particular moment of brilliance saw Parris turn the defender inside out –– nutmegging her effortlessly to the appreciation of the 13,000 in the crowd.
Just before half-time, it was two. The ever-reliable Ellen White was rewarded for her tireless work rate and pounced on a loose ball in the box after Scotland failed to clear their lines.
Whether this sparked a changing room dressing-down is unknown, but either way, Kerr’s side came out for the second half as a reformed outfit and demonstrated their quality in abundance.
With nine WSL players in the starting 11, the likes of Erin Cuthbert, Lisa Evans and Arsenal captain Kim Little began to turn the screw. Claire Emslie pulled one back with 10 minutes to play and from there, it was game on.
As Kerr’s team pushed for a momentous equaliser, England clung on and registered a vital three points in the context of Group D. It was just the second time the Lionesses had won a World Cup opener and the first time since 1995.
Veterans Jill Scott and Karen Carney also made history by appearing in their fourth World Cup –– an England record across both the men’s and women’s game.
While it was England who expectedly picked up the victory in the end, the match embodied all the ingredients of a traditional England vs Scotland classic.
The match was open, competitive and action-filled. There was individual brilliance, late drama and a pulsating crowd atmosphere.
So, as Steve Clarke’s side take on Gareth Southgate's team in a must-win game for Scotland at Wembley this evening, we should all expect more of the same.News Now - Sport News