Euro 2020: Scotland's first appearance at a major tournament in 23 years ends in 2-0 defeat to Czech Republic

·2 min read

Scotland's first appearance at a major tournament since 1998 has ended in defeat after they lost 2-0 to the Czech Republic in their opening Euro 2020 game.

Two goals from Patrik Schick - including a spectacular long range effort from close to the halfway line which looped over Scotland goalkeeper David Marshall - gave the Czechs victory at Hampden Park in Glasgow.

Both sides feature in the same group as England, who overcame Croatia with a 1-0 win at Wembley on Sunday.

Around 12,000 fans were at the stadium for the Group D game - with capacity reduced because of coronavirus restrictions.

Thousands of Scotland football fans belted out the national anthem at Glasgow's Euros fan zone ahead of the men's team appearing at their first major competition since the World Cup in France 23 years ago.

Schick header the visitors ahead just before the break, but it was his second goal in the 52nd minute which will be remembered.

Schick's effort came from around the halfway line and UEFA said it was the longest distance for a goal in the history of the tournament at 49.7 metres, beating the previous record of 38.6 metres from Germany's Torsten Frings at Euro 2004.

Scotland had just lost possession in their half and Schick spotted Scotland goalkeeper Marshall off his line and his looping, curling shot squeezed inside the near post to give his side a 2-0 lead.

The Tartan Army did their best to lift their team and Stuart Armstrong saw a deflected effort loop over goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik before ending up on the roof of the net.

Lyndon Dykes came close for Scotland but was twice denied by Vaclik, before substitute James Forrest was unable to find a way through with another chance for manager Steve Clarke's side.

Scotland's fans were left disappointed, including those who had watched the game at the fan zone.

Eddie Smith, 25, from Dunfermline said it was "unbelievable" to be with five of his friends inside the zone after acquiring tickets.

He said: "It needed to go ahead here and it's unbelievable it has. The security is great, everyone is sitting down spaces apart.

"If you didn't have this everyone would be firing into a pub or a flat, with a lot more than six people.

"The government advice has been to stay outside and here we are all distanced with table service, I'm happy we have this here."

Scotland's next group fixture is against England at Wembley on Friday.

Analysis: The good times were back - but not for long

By James Matthews, Scotland correspondent

Twenty-three years of hurt never stopped them dreaming.

The Tartan Army turned Glasgow Green a shade of navy blue as the city's Euro 2020 fan zone accommodated expectant Scotland fans.

Many were of the generation that had never seen the Scottish men's team play in a major national football tournament.

They had grown up on Tartan Army tales from a bygone time, of top tournament football, the France '98 World Cup and all that.

Euro 2020, Scotland's return ticket, was their chance to live the reality.

The Glasgow Green gathering accommodated the Hampden overspill, those who weren't among the lucky 12,000 with tickets for the game itself.

In the fan zone across the city, they congregated in a seated, socially distant crowd of 3,000 flag-waving, strip-wearing, beer-drinking, anthem-singing supporters.

The good times were back. Until the bad times.

Namely the 42nd and 52nd minutes when the Czech striker Schick put the ball in the Scotland net and, suddenly, the wilderness years were extended by another 90 minutes.

And this had been marked down as the easiest game in the group. The tumbleweed now rolls onto Wembley.

Pre-match, the debate had centred on COVID safety and the wisdom of staging a mass gathering in the park by the River Clyde.

In their efforts to limit the risk of virus spread, organisers encouraged those attending to refrain from over-exuberant celebration. They didn't want too much singing, standing or shouting.

In the circumstances, they needn't have worried.

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