World Cup Qualifying Preview: England vs Scotland

As England prepare to meet Scotland in a competitive fixture for the first time in 17 years, the stakes will be high for both respective managers.

Gareth Southgate takes charge of his third game as interim manager, and will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing performance in England’s previous fixture in Slovenia. The Three Lions grabbed a respectable point after a 0-0 draw in Ljubljana, but were indebted to Joe Hart, who made a string of superb saves to keep them in the game.

Harry Kane and Jack Wilshere could be in line for a return to the starting eleven after being recalled by Southgate. Kane is back in the squad after recovering from injury and made a positive return last weekend after scoring Tottenham’s equaliser from the penalty spot in their 1-1 draw with Arsenal. Wilshere returns for the first time since Euro 2016 after featuring regularly for Bournemouth this season, whom he joined on loan in August.

West Ham’s Aaron Cresswell has received his first call up, and will compete with Ryan Bertrand and Danny Rose for the left back spot.

Scott Brown is back in the squad for the Scots after reversing his decision to retire from international football earlier this year.

England have largely flattered to deceive so far in Group F, with much attention being diverted to off-the-field issues following Sam Allardyce’s departure after just one game in charge. However, a win against the Auld Enemy at Wembley will do Gareth Southgate’s chances of taking the England job permanently no harm.

Gordon Strachan is in need of a positive result after Scotland’s disappointing start to their World Cup qualifying campaign. Scotland were also the only member of the Home Nations not to qualify for Euro 2016. Though they began their campaign with a comfortable 5-1 away win in Malta, they followed that up with a poor home draw against Lithuania – salvaging only a single point thanks to James McArthur’s late goal – and a crushing 3-0 loss in Slovakia.

However, with England still yet to fully push on from their dreadful Euro 2016 campaign, Scotland will sense an opportunity to cause an upset given the added pressure that comes with this fixture. If Scotland can seize the initiative early on and England collapse under the weight of expectations as they did against Iceland in Nice, it could be a tough night for the home side.

Last Five Meetings

European Championships – June 1996: England 2-0 Scotland

Hosts England secured their first victory of Euro ’96 in a highly-anticipated clash at Wembley. Alan Shearer gave England the lead early in the second half but Scotland were gifted a glorious opportunity to equalise when they were awarded a penalty. Gary McAllister squandered the chance as he saw his effort saved by David Seaman. England took advantage and secured the win thanks to a superb individual goal by Paul Gascoigne, cueing his famous ‘dentist chair’ celebration with teammates.

European Championship Playoff 1st Leg – November 1999: Scotland 0-2 England

Kevin Keegan’s men grabbed a vital victory in the first leg of their playoff match as they looked to qualify for Euro 2000. Two first half goals from Paul Scholes ensured they had the advantage going into the decisive second leg.

European Championship Playoff 2nd Leg – November 1999: England 0-1 Scotland

Scotland grabbed a shock victory at Wembley but were unable to overturn the two-goal deficit form the first leg as England narrowly secured qualification. Don Hutchinson’s goal just before half time had the Tartan Army dreaming of a memorable fightback, but England held on to win 2-1 on aggregate. They endured a miserable tournament in Belgium and the Netherlands as they crashed out of the group stages following defeats to Portugal and Romania.

Friendly – August 2013: England 3-2 Scotland

Roy Hodgson’s side came out on top in an entertaining tie at Wembley which saw the Scots twice take the lead. James Morrison gave the visitors an early lead before Theo Walcott equalised just before the half-hour mark. Scotland retook the lead early in the second half thanks to Kenny Miller, but Danny Welbeck quickly hit back to make it 2-2. Substitute Rickie Lambert was the hero for England as he scored with his first touch, heading in Leighton Baines’ corner with twenty minutes to go to grab the decisive goal.

Friendly – November 2014: Scotland 1-3 England

England continued their winning streak after their disappointing 2014 World Cup campaign in Brazil with a convincing win. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain headed England in front in the first half, before Wayne Rooney doubled the lead just after half time. Andrew Robertson pulled one back for the hosts before Rooney grabbed his second just minutes later to complete the scoring.