Six Nations: England 6-11 Scotland

By Sports Desk February 06, 2021

Scotland ended a 38-year wait for victory over England at Twickenham as a hard-working and industrious display earned a deserved 11-6 triumph and Calcutta Cup glory.

Not since 1983 had Scotland beaten their biggest rivals at the home of English rugby but the fired-up visitors outbattled and outplayed Eddie Jones' defending Six Nations champions.

Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg were the attacking catalysts in a match marking the 150th anniversary of the first meeting between these old foes.

Rookie Scotland centre Cameron Redpath showed why there is so much hype with a promising display in an empty stadium due to the coronavirus pandemic that delayed the finish to the 2020 championship.

England were without five forwards but even accounting for that the penalty count was much too high and they were lucky to only be 8-6 down at the break – Duhan van der Merwe crossing for the game's only try.

The end result is a third Calcutta Cup in four years for Scotland, who had previously lost nine in a row between 2008 and 2017.

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  • Euro 2024 data dive: Rampant Germany claim biggest European Championships win Euro 2024 data dive: Rampant Germany claim biggest European Championships win

    Scotland were no match for Germany as the rampant Euro 2024 hosts made a dream start to the tournament on Friday.

    Florian Wirtz got the ball rolling in the 10th minute, becoming the youngest scorer of an opening goal at the European Championships in the tournament's history.

    The excellent Jamal Musiala soon made it 2-0, rifling home after he was set up by Kai Havertz inside the area.

    In Wirtz (21 years, 42 days) and Musiala (21 years, 109 days), Germany became the first team in European Championship history to have two players aged 21 or younger score in the same match.

    Havertz turned scorer when he slotted in from the penalty spot before half-time, with Scotland defender Ryan Porteous seeing red for a lunge on Ilkay Gundogan, after a VAR review.

    Porteous became the second Scottish player sent off at a major tournament, after Craig Burley in the 1998 World Cup against Morocco.

    It is the first time a player has been sent off in the opening game of the Euros since 2012, when both Sokratis (Greece) and Wojciech Szczesny (Poland) were dismissed in a 1-1 draw.

    Havertz's successfully converted spot-kick also ensured Germany went in at half-time 3-0 up – it is just the third time in European Championship history a team has scored three goals in the first half of a game, along with France vs Belgium in 1984 (3-0 at half-time) and France vs Iceland in 2016 (4-0 at half-time).

    Germany made their numerical advantage count to go on and secure the biggest win by a host nation in their opening match at a European Championship tournament, and their biggest victory ever at the Euros, with an own goal from Antonio Rudiger the only negative.

    Indeed, that own goal was kind to Scotland, who had only one shot, which they failed to get on target, and mustered an xG of only 0.01, in comparison to Germany's 2.17.

    It marks the first time Scotland have failed to have a shot on target in a major tournament match since 1992, when they faced the Netherlands in the Euros.

    Steve Clarke's team put in a sorry performance, and must now pick themselves up to face Switzerland. They will go into that match on Wednesday on the back of suffering their heaviest defeat at a major tournament since they lost 7-0 to Uruguay at the 1954 World Cup.

    Germany, meanwhile, already have one foot in the knockouts, and could get the job done by beating Hungary.

    Musiala really was sensational, completing five of his eight dribble attempts while also having six touches in the opponent's box – four more than Scotland managed altogether.

    And finally, this match was the first match in European Championship history to see a red card, a penalty scored and an own goal scored.

    Euro 2024 has started in style, even if Scotland fans will be in a hurry to forget this result.

  • Nagelsmann hails Germany for handling pressure, admits surprise at Scotland's slow start Nagelsmann hails Germany for handling pressure, admits surprise at Scotland's slow start

    Julian Nagelsmann hailed his Germany players for the way they handled the pressure of being Euro 2024 hosts in their 5-1 win over Scotland, adding he was surprised by the lack of aggression on show from Steve Clarke's men.

    Germany recorded the biggest opening-game win at a European Championship, with Florian Wirtz, Jamal Musiala, Kai Havertz, Niclas Fullkrug and Emre Can scoring.

    The result made Nagelsmann just the second coach to win his first Euros game by four or more goals, after Sweden's Lars Lagerback in 2004 (5-0 versus Bulgaria).

    It was also Germany's biggest victory at the Euros, and the first time Scotland had conceded five or more goals in a competitive game since they were trounced 6-0 by the Netherlands in a Euro 2004 qualifier 21 years ago.

    Germany endured a troubled build-up to their home tournament, with Nagelsmann only having eight games to prepare after Hansi Flick was sacked last year.

    He believes they did an excellent job of handling the pressure that comes with a home opener, telling ITV Sport: "I'm happy, I'm satisfied. 

    "In the first game as the home country… we looked back at the first games of the last tournaments and there can be a kind of pressure.

    "Especially in the first 20 minutes, we were brilliant, we had great ball possession and great counter-pressing. 

    "I was happy with the performance and we stayed focused for the whole game.

    "We conceded one goal, but in the end it's okay. Our players were complaining about conceding that goal, which is a good sign when we were already four goals in the lead."

    Scotland did not attempt a single shot on target and failed to register an effort of any kind until Scott McKenna forced an own goal off Antonio Rudiger in the 87th minute.

    Nagelsmann admits he was expecting more from Clarke's team, who found themselves three goals and a man down by half-time as Ryan Porteous was sent off for a horror challenge on Ilkay Gundogan. 

    "I was kind of surprised that Scotland weren't that aggressive in the first 20 minutes," Nagelsmann said.

    "I think they were surprised by our possession, which was really concentrated. They started the game very well and made one mistake in the first 15 minutes.

    "Then they were kind of surprised, kind of afraid. They felt we had players in the offensive row that could score goals so they defended low. 

    "They didn't make the high pressure like they sometimes did in the qualifiers. I think the first 20 minutes were the key to the game."

  • Young guns and old heads form the perfect blend as Germany get off to a flyer Young guns and old heads form the perfect blend as Germany get off to a flyer

    Florian Wirtz needed only 10 minutes to spark Euro 2024 into life.

    After a brilliant season for Bayer Leverkusen, in which he was named the Bundesliga's Player of the Season, Wirtz came into Euro 2024 as one of the standout youngsters.

    His first-time finish to put Germany ahead in Munich on Friday, a cute side-footed effort that Scotland goalkeeper Angus Gunn could only help in off the post, proved why everyone is so excited to see how Julian Nagelsmann gets the best out of a player who scored 18 goals and set up 19 more in all competitions in 2023-24.

    Wirtz's goal set Germany on their way to a 5-1 rout – the biggest win for a host in the opening match of a Euros in the tournament's history.

    He was not the superstar of Germany's performance, though. His fellow youngster, Jamal Musiala, was spellbinding.

    Having lashed in a wonderful second goal for the hosts, Musiala ran the show in the final third, and played a key role with a wonderful pass when super-sub Niclas Fullkrug made it 4-0 midway through the second half.

    Musiala, who was the one bright spark from Germany's dismal performance under Hansi Flick at the 2022 World Cup, teased and toyed with Scotland. He attempted eight dribbles, completing five, had a game-high six touches in the opposition box and came out on top in nine of his 15 duels before he was replaced, fittingly perhaps, by the vastly experienced Thomas Muller.

    The intriguing question ahead of kick-off was how Nagelsmann, the youngest-ever coach in the history of the Euros, would manage to get those two fantastic number 10s into the same team.

    His answer was to dovetail the duo with an experienced midfield – Ilkay Gundogan (33) played ahead of Robert Andrich (29) and the imperious Toni Kroos (34) – and it worked a treat.

    Wirtz is the youngest player to score the opening goal at a Euros, and the youngest player to net for Germany at the tournament. 

    Once Musiala drilled home, Germany became the first team to have two players aged 21 or younger score for them in the same Euros match.

    But it was not all about the flair of youth at the Allianz Arena, where the only blemish on Germany's copybook was an Antonio Rudiger own goal as Scotland mustered a meagre 0.01 xG and failed to have a shot on target.

    Kroos, in the first game of his swansong, led the game for touches (108), and completed 101 (99 per cent) of his 102 passes. It was his crossfield pass that opened up the pitch for Joshua Kimmich to cut inside from the right and lay on Wirtz's opener.

    Gundogan nipped around, linking the play; the Barcelona midfielder won the penalty from which Kai Havertz made it 3-0 – and which led to Scotland defender Ryan Porteous becoming the second Scottish player sent off at a major tournament, after Craig Burley in the 1998 World Cup against Morocco. 

    At the back, goalkeeper Manuel Neuer made his 35th appearance at a major tournament. It saw the 38-year-old surpass Philipp Lahm as Germany's all-time appearance maker in the Euros and World Cup combined.

    Indeed, for all the talk that Nagelsmann had gone with a relatively inexperienced squad for this home tournament, and that it could act as a way to build towards the 2026 World Cup, Germany's starting XI on Friday had an average age of 29 years and 22 days. 

    That makes it Germany's oldest starting XI at a World Cup or Euros since 2000.

    There was a healthy balance all around the pitch for Germany, as Nagelsmann became only the second manager to win by four goals in his first game at the European Championship, along with Lars Lagerback in 2004 (Sweden 5-0 Bulgaria).

    And the men in the middle are worth a mention.

    Havertz is no longer the bright new hope for German football, but the 25-year-old was hugely impressive as he led the line, providing the assist for Musiala and coolly converting his penalty.

    Niclas Fullkrug, fresh from helping Borussia Dortmund reach the Champions League final, replaced Havertz around the hour mark. Soon after, he fired in a wonderful strike.

    He will be playing a back-up role in this tournament, but he should not mind that. Three of Fullkrug's major tournament goals have been as a sub, a joint-record for a European nation, along with Hungary's Laszlo Kiss, Portugal's Rui Costa, and Germany's Andre Schurrle.

    Fullkrug's club-mate Emre Can, a late call-up, rounded matters off late on. 

    Germany have not always clicked under Nagelsmann, but they are clearly the best team in Group A and have the weight of a nation behind them.

    Hungary and Switzerland will likely provide sterner tests than Scotland, though with a perfect blend of youth and experience, the hosts laid down a marker.

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