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World Armstrong urges Scotland to learn from Czech lesson

19:27  14 june  2021
19:27  14 june  2021 Source:   afp.com

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Scotland midfielder Stuart Armstrong admitted his side must learn from the mistakes that condemned them to a 2-0 defeat against the Czech Republic in their Euro 2020 opener on Monday.

Stuart Armstrong playing a game of football: Scotland midfielder Stuart Armstrong (R) © Paul ELLIS Scotland midfielder Stuart Armstrong (R)

Scotland's first appearance at a major tournament since the 1998 World Cup got off to the worst possible start as they lost in front of their own fans at Hampden Park.

Steve Clarke's team trailed to Patrik Schick's first-half header before the Czech forward netted again with a stunning strike from near the halfway line.

Schick's breathtaking shot looped high over out-of-position goalkeeper David Marshall to puncture Scotland's pre-tournament optimism.

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Southampton midfielder Armstrong conceded there was a fatal lack of cutting edge from his side, who created several chances without managing to take one.

"The game was very compact, there wasn't much space, and we were playing too many long balls for our liking. When we passed it, we did quite well but it was hard to break them down," Armstrong said.

"Disappointed with the way the first goal went in. They showed real quality for the second goal.

"They were clinical. At this level you do need to be clinical."

Scotland have never qualified for the knockout stages of a major tournament.

Clarke's men face a crucial clash with bitter rivals England at Wembley on Friday before their last Group D fixture against Croatia next week.

Armstrong urged the Scots to show they can process the failures of their first game and improve against England.

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"We need to take the experiences of today, learn from what happened and make a few little tweaks to our game," he said.

"Fundamentally there were some positive moments and we have to carry that through to Friday.

"We've got two chances to produce a good performance and get something from it."

Clarke admitted Scotland lacked the bravery required to unlock the Czech defence.

"We didn't come here to learn but you still have to learn your lessons. We played some good stuff, although we could have been a bit braver on the ball," Clarke said.

"We didn't work enough to get behind them in the first half, there is lots to learn for everybody.

"We'll go back to base camp, lick our wounds for 24 hours and then we'll be ready for the game on Friday."

Clarke might have to speak to Marshall about his positioning in future games after Schick revealed he knew the Derby keeper had a habit of coming out too far.

"Yeah I saw him (off his line). I checked in the first half when this situation would come. I knew he was staying very high and when the ball came I checked where he was standing," the Bayer Leverkusen star said.

"Scotland were a tough opponent and we were ready for their tactics."

smg/mw

Despite plea to stay away, up to 20,000 Scotland fans set to go to London for England game tonight .
Up to 20,000 Scotland fans are expected to travel to London ahead of tonight's crunch Euro 2020 match against England, despite pleas to stay away. © PA David Marshall crashes into the back of the net after conceding the second goal against the Czech Republic With no fan zones available due to COVID-19 restrictions, the city's mayor Sadiq Khan asked supporters not to travel without a ticket or a "safe place" to watch the match.

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