ENGLAND 0, SCOTLAND 0
The contrasting emotions, jeers and cheers at the final whistle encapsulated what this result meant to England and Scotland as they fought out a first-ever goalless draw between the two sides at Wembley.
England’s fans voiced their displeasure, even though they are second in Group D and almost certain to reach the knockout phase with the Czech Republic still to play in what will be a group decider on Tuesday.
Scotland, beaten by the Czechs at Hampden Park on Monday, were jubilant after picking up their first point against their bitterest rivals.
Perhaps it was the kiss of death when the pre-match stat flashed up that there had never been a goalless draw between England and Scotland in 32 previous matches at Wembley.
Scotland had won only once in their last 11 visits – it is now 12 – but it felt more like a victory for them as Steve Clarke certainly triumphed in the battle of the managers.
Clarke set up the Scots in such a disciplined manner that England struggled, so much so they managed only one goal attempt on target in the 90 minutes.
And England’s inability to break down the Scots will leave Gareth Southgate with plenty to ponder moving forward in the tournament.
England, despite a second successive clean sheet, were desperately poor in the final third with captain Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling anonymous while Phil Foden and Kalvin Phillips made far less of an impact than against Croatia on Sunday.
Southgate admitted England failed to deliver and were well below par.Embed from Getty Images
He said: “I think it was a frustrating night, we know we can play better. You have to give Scotland credit, they defended valiantly and played well.
“We didn’t do enough to win the game but after that the thing we have to worry about in tournament football after that is we had to make sure we didn’t lose it.
“We know it’s a disappointment for our supporters, but we have to dust ourselves down and move on.”
On his team selections, Southgate explained: “We’re still working those patterns, we’re playing a high level of games under the intensity and to find space tonight was difficult. Scotland played well and we weren’t able to open them up.
“I know exactly where this team is – it’s a young team and some of them won’t have experienced a night under this intensity and pressure, that’s a huge learning curve for then. That’s what we have to look at moving forward.
“The whole team can look at ourselves, that starts with me, we’ve got to be better. We didn’t do enough to win the game, not enough attempts on goal, we have to go away and look at that.”
And on taking off Kane, Southgate continued: “We needed more runs in behind and I felt Marcus Rashford would give us that energy. At that point we had got to try and get them. We have to make these decisions based on what we see.”
Kane said: “Fair result, fair play to Scotland they defended well. It wasn’t our best performance, but it’s another point closer to qualification and that’s our ultimate goal. We just have to recover and look forward to next game in a few days.
“It was a tough game – Scotland defended really well, made good blocks at the right times when we know no game is going to be easy it’s a European Championship and Scotland are playing for their lives.
“We’ve got another big game in a few days against the Czechs, we want to finish sharp – it’s a point, not what we wanted but it’s one step closer to qualifying. One step at a time and we go again.”
And on being substituted, Kane continued: “It’s part of the game, the manager felt that was the right decision, so you just have to take it. It is what it is.”
Tyrone Mings added: “Disappointing of course because we know we can play better. The important thing for us as defender and as a team going forward into the tournament, we kept another clean sheet which is a positive.
“The intensity from back to front was missing. I don’t think they wanted it more than us,but we were not fluid and dynamic as wanted to be.
“It was a great occasion and we wanted to win the game, the atmosphere was incredible, but we take a point and a step closer to qualification which is our goal.
“It leaves us with four points, and we know we might have enough. We want to win the game on Tuesday against the Czech Republic.”
Having raised eyebrows with his left-back selection for the first game, Southgate changed both full-backs for the second.
In came Reece James and Luke Shaw to start at right-back and left-back respectively, replacing Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier.
Shaw was playing his first game for England in a championship since the World Cup win against Costa Rica in 2014, a span of seven years.
Only Martin Keown and Tony Adams have had longer spells between internationals at a tournament,
The rest of the starting line-up was unchanged from the win over Croatia.
Having returned to training after injury, centre-back Harry Maguire was on the bench, though, along with forward Jadon Sancho.
Scotland made four changes from the side beaten by the Czech Republic on Monday. The big news was Kieran Tierney’s recovery from injury.
Also in from the start was Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour and Southampton forward Che Adams. Celtic midfielder Callum McGregor was the other man brought in.
The men dropping out were Liam Cooper, Jack Hendry, Stuart Armstrong and Ryan Christie, who were all on the bench.
It was clear from the start the tempo would be higher than Sunday, more of a British style than a continental build-up.
Scotland, with their five-man back line, were well organised and England did not manage a goal attempt on target in the opening period.
And Scotland had arguably the two of the best chances, a goalbound shot from Che Adams which was blocked by John Stones while an angled volley from Stephen O’Donnell was beaten out by Jordan Pickford.
England’s only chance of note was a bullet header by Stones which crashed against the upright from Mason Mount’s corner.
While goal attempts were at a premium, it proved an absorbing opening period in which Scotland’s manager succeeded in nullifying England’s attacking threat.
England began the second period more on the front foot and soon Mount’s drive forced a diving save from David Marshall, their first effort on target while James fired narrowly over.
Scotland went close again from a corner as Lyndon Dykes’ hooked shot was headed off the line by James.
Southgate’s patience finally wore thin and just after the hour Phil Foden was replaced by the mercurial Jack Grealish as England needed a new impetus pressing forward in pursuit of a breakthrough goal.
And that was soon followed by captain Kane making way for Marcus Rashford.
England had a shout for a penalty rejected with 11 minutes with Raheem Sterling convinced he had been fouled by Andrew Robertson near the by-line.
But that just about summed up a frustrating night for England when they were left clutching at straws in pursuit of a matchwinning goal.