A Rivalry Revisited

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A Rivalry Revisited

As the streets of London are being paraded by men in kilts singing Auld Lang Syne, the Scottish fan base have arrived in the capital in more hope than expectation of getting a result in what is the oldest rivalry in international football.

 

Dating back to 1872, when the two sides battled out a 0-0 draw in Glasgow, England and their ‘Auld enemies’ have provided football purists with a history of pulsating ties, pitch invasions and wonder goals. (When I say wonder goals, I purely mean Gascoigne’s.)

 

Tonight will be the first time the clubs have met since Don Hutchinson’s solitary winner in the 1999 Euro Championships, 14 years ago.

 

With Roy Hodgson’s men looking to set the record straight at Wembley, the pressure is certainly swayed towards the England camp on the FA’s celebratory 150th anniversary game.

 

Scotland must be thinking, ‘what better way than to win and quell the celebrations’ as manager Gordon Strachan has already begun the mind games stating that they will head to Wembley on the day of the game as they are already mentally and physically prepared.

 

England won’t be thinking about their record 9-3 rout in 1961 and it seems a long way off the Three Lions producing any performance to that magnitude - they will just want to win the 111th meeting.

 

Memories still play fresh in the mind of Euro 96’ when a David Seaman penalty save was followed up by the goal that most people remember Paul Gascoigne best for. A delicate chip over the head of defender Colin Hendry was sublimely finished with a first time strike into the bottom corner. Not only was the goal one of the most famous in recent England history, the ‘dentist chair’ celebration was just as impressive.

 

It culminated in Alan Shearer spraying water into the mouth of Gazza which marred an image of a heavy drinking night in Hong Kong which was highly criticised before the tournament.

 

In 1977, in front of a 98,103 crowd crammed into the old Wembley, Kenny Dalglish scored the winner in a 1-2 victory which produced a wild pitch invasion and the iconic image of Scottish fans climbing on the broken cross-bar in front of the home supporters.

 

Although the match tonight is only a friendly, both teams will be sure to have the passion and willingness to win and get one over their rivals.

 

Scotland head into the game off the back of an impressive 1-0 win over Croatia in Zagreb and the focus of England’s performance will be predominantly based around Wayne Rooney whose future is still unknown. 

By Richard Forrester