England v Scotland: Back Three Lions to win without conceding

Gareth Southgate
Gareth Southate and England can beat Scotland and keep another clean sheet

Paul Higham thinks an England win to nil against Scotland is the most likely result of what will be a tough and intense game at Wembley...

"Seven of England's last eight wins have come with a clean sheet and Scotland's scoring problems mean that it'll be tough for them to find the net at Wembley."

Back England to beat Scotland to nil @ 1.834/5

England v Scotland
Friday 18 June, 20:00 BST kick-off
Live on ITV

Promising start for Southgate's England

Very much job done for England against Croatia, and whatever you thought of the overall performance, Gareth Southgate seemed to get everything right despite eyebrows being raised at his team selection.

Kieran Trippier was solid at left back, Raheem Sterling scored the winner and Kalvin Phillips was excellent in midfield. The way England managed the game was superb, snuffing out Croatia almost totally, and Southgate proved that he's his own man with that selection.

They'll have to improve obviously, but the signs are good!

Next up, Scotland visit Wembley for the 33rd time in the 100th competitive fixture between the old enemies and just the second in a major tournament - after that Euro 96 epic settled by Gazza's magnificent finish.

Expect Southgate to make changes for the game, he's been preaching it's a squad game and a long tournament and there could be a shift in style given they'll have a lot more of the ball on Friday, with Jack Grealish and one of Luke Shaw or Ben Chilwell likely to be given a game.

The Three Lions have only won their opening two games at a major tournament three times before (1982, 2006, 2018) but if Southgate's side make that four they can start planning for the knockout stages.

Scots need to sharpen up in front of goal

Steve Clarke's men played well up to a point against the Czech Republic but a lack of end product and the extra quality of Patrik Schick proved to be the difference.

The Scots had 11 of their 19 shots blocked and only hit the target with five of them. If their finishing was sharper they may well have taken the lead after a good start to the game, but the first Schick goal, which they could have defended better, came just before half time and was a killer.

If Kieran Tierney can return that will make a huge difference and whoever plays they'll have to bring the same energy and drive they had in the opening of the Czech Republic game.

Clarke will look to stifle England, snuff out the attacking threat and try and get something on the break, but it's not quite a must-win yet and a point would still give them the chance to try and get through against Croatia back at Hampden.

The Scots have only won one of their last 11 against England, although that did come at Wembley when Don Hutchison settled their Euro 2000 qualifier in November 1999, so they'll live in hope, and do have quality in areas that can cause England problems.

Guaranteed goals - but not too many

None of these fixtures at Wembley has ended goalless and that run will surely continue in what is being pegged as a comfortable England win according to the bookies, who have them as whopping 1.292/7 favourites and Scotland as massive 10.09/1 outsiders.

Recent meetings this century have had goals, with 16 of them in four fixtures and 11 of them going for England - who have scored two goals in five of their last six clashes.

One goal could be enough given Scotland's struggles in front of goal, which have been a theme of this tournament as they've drawn blanks in five of their seven European Championship games.

The England win to nil at 1.834/5 will be a popular bet and it's something they've become experts at with seven of their last eight wins coming with a clean sheet.

Scotland did make chances though, they recorded the largest xG of the four teams in Group D but the two big questions are whether they can create as much again, and even if they do can they take their chances?

For in-play bettors, Scotland have the unwanted record of having never scored once going behind in the European Championship - so if England net then history tells us that's all she wrote.

Scots to make England work for it

Andy Robertson Scotland 956.jpg

Scottish skipper Andy Robertson was at the heart of most good things against the Czechs, he probably should've scored while he also created six chances - that's the most of any player in this group.

Injury prevents us from the prospect of the Liverpool man going up against team-mate Trent Alexander-Arnold, but he will still be crucial for any Scottish success both defending and going forward.

He's 13.012/1 to grab an assist at Wembley.

John McGinn had four shots and created two chances against the Czechs and still looks like being Scotland's main threat - he's 10.09/1 for an assists and 11.010/1 for a goal.

Raheem Sterling should get another start after his match-winning performance, which almost guarantees England won't lose as he's played the most Three Lions games at Wembley without losing in history with him now 23 matches unbeaten (W21 D2).

Again, for in-play fans, if Sterling chips in with a goal then that's as good as a home win as England have won all 11 matches in which he's scored in - that's also a team record. His odds of 2.77/4 anytime scorer certainly look attractive.

England should take this, but Scotland will work hard to make life difficult and I don't see it being an avalanche of goals, instead it could be a tight derby-like affair and there's every chance Scotland could get to the break level.

Draw/England in the HT/FT market at 3.613/5 is certainly in play here, as you'd have to think England's depth of quality would see them make the breakthrough at some stage. They've also had an extra day to recover to should take control in the latter stages.

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