Scotland's first EURO finals game in 25 years pits them against a Czech Republic side who have qualified for the seventh successive tournament.
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Scotland's first EURO finals game in 25 years pits them against a Czech Republic side who have have been ever-presents over the past quarter of a century.
• While the Scots are making only their third EURO appearance, and their first since 1996, the Czech Republic travel to Hampden Park to kick off their seventh successive EURO campaign having made their debut at that 1996 tournament.
• Runners-up on that first appearance, three of the Czechs' previous six EURO appearances have extended into the knockout rounds, whereas Scotland have never progressed beyond the initial group stage.
• The teams have been regular opponents in recent years, most recently meeting twice in the UEFA Nations League in autumn 2020. Scotland won both games, coming from behind in the first of them to prevail 2-1 at the Ander Stadium in Olomouc on 7 September 2020; Jakub Pešek gave the home side a 12th-minute lead, but goals from Lyndon Dykes (27) – his first for Scotland – and Ryan Christie (52) earned the visitors victory, the winner coming from the penalty spot after Andy Robertson had been fouled by Tomáš Malinský.
• Scotland's Ryan Fraser scored the only goal in the sixth minute at Hampden Park on 14 October 2020.
• A 1-0 friendly victory in Prague on 24 March 2016, Ikechi Anya scoring the only goal, means Scotland have won their last three matches against the Czech Republic and are unbeaten in four, since a 1-0 UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying loss in Prague on 8 October 2010.
• The subsequent 2-2 draw at Hampden Park on 3 September 2011 preserved the Czechs' unbeaten record in their four EURO matches against Scotland (W2 D2). Three of the four goals in that game came in the final 12 minutes, Jaroslav Plašil (78) cancelling out Kenny Miller's 45th-minute opener and Michal Kadlec earning the visitors a point with a 90th-minute penalty, eight minutes after Darren Fletcher had put Scotland 2-1 up.
• The Czechs won 2-1 at Celtic Park and 3-2 in Prague in qualifying for UEFA EURO 2000.
• This is the teams' first final tournament meeting in a EURO or FIFA World Cup.
EURO facts: Scotland
• Scotland have qualified for two previous EURO final tournaments, in 1992 and 1996. In both they failed to get beyond the group stage, although they won one of their three games in each tournament.
• This is Scotland's first major tournament since the 1998 World Cup in France.
• Scotland have never progressed beyond the first round in either of their EURO appearances or their eight World Cups, although their 1998 World Cup campaign was only the fourth time in those ten tournaments that they failed to win a game.
• Scotland's record in EURO final tournaments is W2 D1 L3.
• The Scots kicked off their UEFA EURO 2020 campaign under Alex McLeish, losing 3-0 in Kazakhstan before a 2-0 win away to San Marino. Steve Clarke then succeeded McLeish in May 2019, Scotland ending in third place in Group I behind Belgium and Russia having picked up 15 points from their ten games overall (W5 L5).
• Scotland qualified for the EURO play-offs after finishing top of their 2018/19 UEFA Nations League group, picking up nine points from four matches under McLeish to win their section ahead of Israel and Albania.
• Israel were again the opponents in the play-off semi-final, Clarke's side scoring all five of their penalties to win 5-4 after a goalless 120 minutes at Hampden Park.
• Penalties were also needed after Scotland's play-off final away to Serbia had finished 1-1, the home side cancelling out Ryan Christie's opener with a 90th-minute equaliser. Once again Scotland converted all five spot kicks, David Marshall saving Serbia's final penalty from Aleksandar Mitrović to book a finals place.
• Scotland are unbeaten in their last five EURO matches (W3 D2), having lost the previous four.
• Scotland's record at Hampden Park is W135 D63 L60. They are unbeaten in their last six games there (W4 D2), since a 4-0 EURO qualifying loss to Belgium on 9 September 2019 that was their fifth defeat in eight matches at the ground (W3).
EURO facts: Czech Republic
• The Czech Republic have qualified for every EURO final tournament since Czechoslovakia split in 1993.
• They won the competition as part of Czechoslovakia in 1976 and reached the final in their first appearance as the Czech Republic in 1996, losing 2-1 to Germany.
• The Czech Republic also reached the semi-finals at UEFA EURO 2004 and the quarter-finals eight years later.
• In 2016, the Czechs finished bottom of their group having picked up one point from three games. Losses to Spain (0-1) and Turkey (0-2) sandwiched a 2-2 draw against Croatia in which the Czechs had rallied from two goals down. That was the only time they have avoided defeat – or found the net – in their last four EURO finals games.
• Jaroslav Šilhavý's charges qualified for UEFA EURO 2020 as Group A runners-up behind England, who they beat 2-1 in Prague having gone down 5-0 at Wembley in their opening fixture. That was one of three defeats the Czechs suffered in qualifying, although five wins ensured they finished with 15 points, four above third-placed Kosovo.
• The Czech Republic/Czechoslovakia have played six previous games at Hampden Park (D1 L5). That 2-2 draw away to Scotland in September 2011 is the only time they have avoided defeat.
• The Czechs also won 2-1 at Celtic Park in a UEFA EURO 2000 qualifier, their sole success in Scotland. Czechoslovakia went down 5-0 at Ibrox in a 1937 friendly, making their overall record in Glasgow – and Scotland – as Czechoslovakia/Czech Republic W1 D1 L6.
Links and trivia
• Jan Bořil captained Slavia Praha to a 2-0 win against Rangers in Glasgow that secured the Czech club's 3-1 aggregate victory in the 2020/21 UEFA Europa League round of 16. Lukáš Masopust was a substitute for Slavia in both legs, with Tomáš Holeš and David Zima starting the 1-1 draw in Prague. Nathan Patterson started both games for Rangers.
• Libor Sionko, the general manager of the Czech Republic national team, scored three goals in 18 league appearances for Rangers in 2006/07.
• Scotland enter UEFA EURO 2020 on a five-match unbeaten run (W2 D3) and with just two defeats in their last 16 games, eight of which were won, plus another two decided in their favour on penalties.
• Steve Clarke's side played two warm-up games in early June, drawing 2-2 with the Netherlands in southern Portugal – a game that featured first international goals for defender Jack Hendry and striker Kevin Nisbet and debuts for David Turnbull and Billy Gilmour – and winning 1-0 away to Luxembourg, in which Ché Adams scored the winner and another first cap was awarded, to Nathan Patterson of Scottish champions Rangers.
• Scotland's squad is the least experienced at UEFA EURO 2020 with just 482 international caps shared between the 26 players and only one of them, 38-year-old goalkeeper Craig Gordon, with over 50 to his name. It is also the squad with the fewest international goals – a collective tally of just 36, with John McGinn, on ten, the lone player to have reached double figures.
• Although there is no international tournament experience in the squad, ten of the 26 players operated in the English Premier League in 2020/21, including captain Andy Robertson, who started all 38 games for defending champions Liverpool, while Manchester United's Scott McTominay appeared in the UEFA Europa League final and Gilmour was a fringe member of Chelsea's UEFA Champions League-winning squad.
• The seven goals McGinn scored in the UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying campaign mean that he needs just one more to join Ally McCoist as Scotland's all-time EURO top scorer. McCoist is one of just four Scottish scorers at the EURO finals; none of them managed more than one goal.
• A 3-1 win against Albania in Prague on 8 June, in which Patrick Schick, Lukáš Masopust and Ondřej Čelůstka all found the net, ended a three-match winless run for the Czech Republic, who four days earlier had crashed to a 4-0 defeat against Italy in Bologna – a game in which Michal Sadílek came off the bench to make his international debut.
• There has been a major overhaul of the Czech squad in the five years since UEFA EURO 2016, with just three players remaining from that tournament in France – captain Vladimír Darida, goalkeeper Tomáš Vaclík and defender Pavel Kadeřábek. Another player with EURO finals experience is striker Tomáš Pekhart, who was a squad member alongside Darida in 2012. No member of this year's squad has ever scored a EURO finals goal.
• There are five players in Jaroslav Šilhavý's selection from the Slavia Praha side that went unbeaten domestically in 2020/21, winning the Czech league and cup double, and also reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League – Masopust, Jan Bořil, Tomáš Holeš, Petr Ševčík and David Zima.
• Pekhart was also a Polish league title winner in the season just concluded with Legia Warszawa, topping the Ekstraklasa scoring charts with 22 goals, while fellow striker Michael Krmenčík spent the first half of the season with prospective Belgian champions Club Brugge before moving to PAOK, with whom he won the Greek Cup, scoring the late winner in the final against champions Olympiacos.
• Sparta Praha's 18-year-old striker Adam Hložek, the youngest member of Šilhavý's squad, was the joint top scorer in the 2020/21 Czech Liga with 15 goals.
• Former Slavia players Tomáš Souček and Vladimír Coufal were both instrumental in helping West Ham United finish sixth in the Premier League to secure a place in next season's UEFA Europa League group stage.