Afghanistan started their T20 World Cup Super 12 campaign in style with a 130-run rout of Scotland.

Having stunned Bangladesh en route to topping Group B to qualify for the Super 12, Scotland will have had hope of causing an upset in Sharjah.

However, any prospect of them doing so quickly diminished as Afghanistan dominated with bat and ball.

Hazratullah Zazai (44), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (46) and Najibullah Zadran (59) propelled Afghanistan to a total of 190-4 that always looked well beyond Scotland, who quickly wilted in the face of a mammoth chase.

Mujeeb Ur Rahman took career-best figures of 5-20 and Rashid Khan claimed 4-9 to bowl Scotland out for just 60.

The victory sees Afghanistan surge to the top of Group 2 at this early stage.

 

Afghanistan reach new heights

Scotland were swiftly on the back foot as Afghanistan piled on 55 runs for the loss of just one wicket in the powerplay and Mohammad Nabi's side did not let up.

Zazai and Zadran each cleared the rope three times and Gurbaz hit four sixes, the stand of 87 between the latter duo pivotal in Afghanistan posting their highest T20 World Cup score.

Scotland in a spin

Scotland's highest successful chase is 181 but they saw a promising early start fade badly as Afghanistan's spinners took hold.

George Munsey (25), captain Kyle Coetzer (10) and Chris Greaves (12) were the only players to reach double figures as Mujeeb and Rashid ripped through the line-up. A meeting with Namibia is Scotland's most realistic chance of a Super 12 win.

Jamaica Rugby League head coach Romeo Monteith was full of praise for the Reggae Warriors after their sensational rally to draw 30-30 with Scotland in their international match at the Millennium Stadium in Featherstone on Sunday.

The Reggae Warriors, trailing by 20 points, scored six tries to five and came back from 30-10 down two minutes into the second half, superbly led by Ashton Golding - starting at loose forward for the first time - and Izaac Farrell on debut.

“Today we created history again, everyone should be proud of this team. We showed great character to come back from 20 points down and get a result against the ninth-ranked team in the world,” Monteith told Sportsmax. TV.

“It was a game of two halves; the last 40 we really showed the toughness and resilience we are made of. We will continue to build towards the World Cup in 2022, and this was the perfect boost for the programme.”

Scotland was excellently served by St Helens-bound James Bell, Barrow’s Charlie Emslie posting a try double for them on his international bow.

Jamaica raced into a 10-0 lead with tries from Jymel Coleman and an 85-metre pick up by Ben Jones-Bishop after Sam Luckley had lost the ball, the Bravehearts then holding out Golding and Izaac Farrell and preventing Mo Agoro crossing in the corner with some outstanding goal-line defence.

Keenan Tomlinson was sin-binned in the 25th minute as Jamaica’s discipline let them down and Scotland hit back with Emslie’s first – from a fine pass by Bell – and further tries from Ross Oakes on the overlap, Ben Hellewell diving on a loose ball and Dale Ferguson, all converted by Lachlan Walmsley on his first international start – to lead 24-10 at the break.

Emslie’s second from a spilt high kick seemed to have the Scots firmly in charge, but Jones-Bishop grabbed his brace, Joe Brown went in on the hour and Jordan Andrade crashed to the posts with 15 minutes to go.

Ferguson was sent to the bin with five to go for a high tackle and, switching play on the last, Jamaica’s Alex Brown powered into the corner to level, Izzac Farrell’s conversion attempt just falling short.

In the final minute, Ryan Brierley’s drop goal attempt for the Scots was touched in flight and the Reggae Warriors held on from the resulting dropout.

“It was a tough game, Scotland played really well. The momentum shifted in the middle of the game when we had Keenen Tomlinson sent off. We started fantastic and stuck to what we wanted to do early on, but our kick finishes were a bit poor,” said Reggae Warriors coach Jermaine Coleman.

“We came out in the second half and showed commitment and togetherness that will be the main thing to get us through the World Cup. Our talk at halftime-e focused on what can control such as our tackles, our finished and our energy. Ultimately that showed in the second game and on the back of that we nearly won the game, we certainly can take a moral victory from the draw.”

Monteith said the team had to overcome a lot and the victory was a positive catalyst heading into 2022. “The result does a lot for our confidence, it reinforces our belief that we are on the right track despite the many challenges we face. We had two of our staff members quit just before we played these games, we had 8 players unavailable due to one thing or another, we couldn’t get domestic players or staff to England due to Covid, so to face all these challenges, and end the year with a tie against Scotland, we can build on this moment,” he said.

The Reggae Warriors are currently ranked 20th in the world and defeated Canada and USA in 2018 to become the first Caribbean nation to qualify for a Rugby League World Cup. The postponed 2021 Rugby League World Cup takes in 2022 from October 15 to November 19.

 

 

Scotland are heading to the Super 12 stage of the T20 World Cup after swatting aside Oman to earn a crushing eight-wicket win in their final Group B game.

After limiting Oman to 122 all out, Scotland coasted to victory with three overs to spare. Captain Kyle Coetzer hit three sixes in a 28-ball innings of 41, with Matthew Cross (26no) and Richie Berrington (31no) seeing Scotland home at the Al Amerat Cricket Ground in Oman, denying their hosts a chance to compete at the highest level.

Berrington clubbed Khawar Ali for a pair of sixes in the 14th over to ease Scotland's nerves and take them into three figures, and the same batsman lashed a four and another maximum off consecutive balls from Mohammad Nadeem to seal a resounding success.

Bangladesh earlier also made sure of their place in the Super 12 round as they thrashed Papua New Guinea by 84 runs, making 181-7 before bowling out their opponents for 97.

Mahmudullah made 50 for Bangladesh, while Shakib Al Hasan weighed in with 46 before taking 4-9 with the ball. Papua New Guinea were reduced at one stage to 29-7, making a Bangladesh victory a formality.

Scotland go through as group winners with a 100 per cent record, having beaten Bangladesh earlier in the campaign, and will tackle India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Afghanistan and either Sri Lanka, Ireland or Namibia in Group Two as the elite sides enter the competition. Bangladesh must face Australia, England, South Africa, West Indies and the Group A winners, who are almost certain to be Sri Lanka.

The Super 12 group action gets under way on Saturday as Australia face South Africa in Abu Dhabi.

Jamaica director of rugby/head coach Romeo Monteith and lead coach Jermaine Coleman have named their 19-man squad for Sunday’s Test match with Scotland, at the Millennium Stadium in Featherstone.

The Reggae Warriors are looking to bounce back from last Friday’s defeat at the hands of England Knights, with international ranking points up for grabs against the Bravehearts as both nations look to measure their progress 12 months out from the Rugby League World Cup.

 Super League stars Ashton Golding and Michael Lawrence are once more included, whilst Sheffield Eagle Izaac Farrell and Bradford Bulls’ David Foggin-Johnston are also named and could possibly debut, although Jordan Turner is not available.

 “We are excited to face Scotland for the first time, they are ninth-ranked in the world, a strong team with a host of Super League players and should give us another stern test. We expect an exciting brand of open rugby from both teams which should be a treat for the fans. We picked up a few knocks in our game against England Knights, but these two weeks with consecutive matches against strong nations is exactly what we need to give us an idea of what it will be like in the World Cup,” said Monteith.

“These games are also important in introducing the team to more fans in the UK with the invitation for them to adopt us as their second favourite side for the tournament. It’s not lost on us either that we are inspiring young Jamaicans and West Indians in the UK to have a go at the sport, and this can only help to build our profile and possibilities for the future.”

 JAMAICA SQUAD:

 Greg Johnson (Batley Bulldogs), David Foggin-Johnston (Bradford), Jon Magrin, Keenen Tomlinson (Dewsbury Rams), Danny Bravo, Ross Peltier, (Doncaster), James Woodburn-Hall (Halifax Panthers) Ashton Golding, Michael Lawrence (Huddersfield Giants), Aaron Jones-Bishop, Alex Brown, Jordan Andrade, Jy-mel Coleman (Hunslet), Mo Agoro, (Keighley Cougars), Jacob Ogden (London Broncos) Izaac Farrell, Joel Farrell (Sheffield Eagles), Joe Brown (Workington Town), Ben Jones-Bishop (York City Knights)

Bangladesh avoided an early exit after their shock opening-day defeat by Scotland, beating Oman by 26 runs despite a late wobble.

The team ranked sixth in the world were bowled out by Oman for 153 from the final ball of their innings, recording just eight wickets for 52 runs in the last seven overs.

Bangladesh had started well, with Mohammad Naim managing 64 runs from 50 balls and Shakib Al Hasan registering 42 from 29, but the team crumbled after the latter's exit.

Oman were unable to capitalise, however, collapsing late on themselves with five wickets from five overs and ending on 127-9, having been 81-2.

The day's early game saw Scotland survive a scare of their own to earn their second victory of the tournament and move within one win of qualifying for the Super 12s stage.

Scotland beat Papua New Guinea by 17 runs, making 165-9 as Richie Berrington hit a half-century that included three sixes – one being the longest of the tournament at 97metres – as well as six fours.

However, the 14th-ranked side in the world fell apart after he and Callum McLeod exited in the 19th over, seeing three wickets fall from the final three balls.

Papua New Guinea were bowled out for 148 in the last over, though, falling to their second defeat of the competition after losing to Oman in their opening match.

Chris Greaves produced an instrumental performance to help Scotland deal an early dent to Bangladesh's hopes of progressing to the T20 World Cup Super 12 with a shock win.

A Scotland victory appeared extremely unlikely when they were reduced to 53-6 having been put into bat in Muscat.

However, Greaves' 28-ball 45 helped Scotland rebuild their innings, as they reached 140-9, in an innings that saw Shakib Al Hasan become the leading wicket-taker in T20 internationals, with two dismissals taking him to 108.

And Greaves was similarly key with ball in hand, his 2-19 comprising the key wickets of Shakib and Mushfiqur Rahim.

Greaves broke up that duo's 47-run third-wicket partnership by removing Shakib for 20 and then benefited as Mushfiqur misjudged a scoop on 38 and lost his leg stump.

Brad Wheal (3-24) took a starring role from there, dismissing Nural Hasan (2) and Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah (23) in the space of four 19th-over deliveries.

Bangladesh were left needing 24 off the last over and that proved too steep a challenge as Scotland prevailed by six runs.

The day's earlier Group B game saw Oman cruise to a 10-wicket win over Papua New Guinea thanks in part to Jatinder Singh's 73.

With the 2021 Rugby League World Cup being postponed until late next year, Jamaica’s Reggae Warriors are set to play two internationals next month as the Jamaica Rugby League (JRL) intends to make the extra year count.

Patrik Schick's sensational long-range strike for the Czech Republic against Scotland has been voted Euro 2020's Goal of the Tournament.

The Bayer Leverkusen forward scored twice in the 2-0 win at Hampden Park on matchday one in the group stage, the second of those goals from just inside the Scotland half.

The goal was measured at 49.7 yards, making it the furthest distance a goal has been scored at the European Championship since such data was first recorded in 1980.

Schick spotted opposition goalkeeper David Marshall off his line and left the back-pedalling Scotsman red faced to overtake Torsten Frings' previous record of 38.6 yards for Germany against the Netherlands at Euro 2004.

 

Speaking after the match on June 14, Schick confirmed he had spotted Marshall off his line earlier in the contest and decided to have a go from range.

"I knew he liked to stay very high, so when the ball came, I quickly checked where he was standing, and it was a nice goal," he told BBC Sport. 

"I saw the keeper off his line. I checked already in the first half and thought maybe this situation will come."

The goal was voted the best from a shortlist of 10 compiled by UEFA's Technical Observer team, with nearly 800,000 votes being cast by the public.

Schick finished level with Cristiano Ronaldo as Euro 2020's top scorer with five goals in five games, but the Portugal superstar was awarded the Golden Boot as he also had one assist.

The 25-year-old's return of 81 minutes per goal was the third best of any player to have scored more than once in the tournament, behind Denmark's Kasper Dolberg (75.33) and Ronaldo (72).

We had to wait an extra year, but the Euro 2020 group stage threw up drama and records – and in terms of goals it delivered magnificently.

With the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku hitting their stride, it was a feast for the strikers, with 94 goals scored across the 36 games.

That represented a massive raising of the bar after only 69 goals were netted at the same stage in the 2016 tournament.

Here, Stats Perform looks at the most eye-catching numbers that defined the first 13 days of this delayed tournament – ahead of the do-or-die knockout stage getting under way.

 

Ronaldo making up for lost time

Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player to score as many as five goals in the group stages of a single European Championship since Michel Platini bagged seven for France in 1984, on his way to a nine-goal tournament tally. Three of Ronaldo's goals for Portugal at this tournament have been penalties, while Platini netted just one spot-kick during France's run 37 years ago.

Impressively, Platini's goals in 1984 came from an expected goals (xG) rate of just 3.32, while Ronaldo has recorded his five from a total of 4.71 so far. Opta builds its expected goals data by measuring the quality of an attempt based on variables such as assist type, shot angle and distance from goal, whether it was a headed shot and whether it was defined as a big chance. It means Ronaldo has put away approximately the number of goals he should have expected to score.

Ronaldo scored twice from the penalty spot in Wednesday's 2-2 draw with France, the first game in the history of the Euros to see three spot-kicks scored, excluding shoot-outs.

Defending champions Portugal have been far from perfect, however, dropping a competition-high five points from winning positions.

While Ronaldo has the most goals of any player so far in these finals, he has not been able to keep up with the rising tide of own goals. There have been a staggering eight, as many as were scored between the 1980 and 2016 editions combined.

 

Firing range

Why wait until seeing the whites of the goalkeeper's eyes before offloading a shot?

Patrik Schick had one quick glance towards David Marshall's goal and let fly from 49.7 yards at Hampden Park to put the Czech Republic 2-0 in front against Scotland. That incredible moment gave Schick the longest-range strike on record at the European Championship, with such measured distances available from the 1980 tournament onwards.

There were 304 shots from outside the penalty area in the group stage, but only 12 goals scored from such long range. That ratio of one goal for every 25.3 shots from long distance was nevertheless an improvement on the Euro 2016 numbers, when just 16 goals from outside the area were scored from 638 attempts across the whole tournament – one every 39.9 shots.

 

Low Countries, tall targets

Belgium and the Netherlands are nations who have experienced mixed fortunes on the football field in the 21st century, but both will feel a big moment could be arriving.

The Belgian Red Devils were absent from all major tournaments between their appearances at the 2002 and 2014 World Cups, while the Dutch were conspicuous by their absence from Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup.

Lukaku, with three goals so far, has been a terrific spearhead of the Belgium side, netting 50 per cent of the goals their players have netted (excluding own goals) at Euro 2020 despite only taking 22 per cent of their shots – seven of 32 attempts.

If Lukaku keeps firing, with Kevin De Bruyne and co prompting from midfield, then Belgium, who have never won a World Cup or European Championship, have a strong chance to show why they are ranked by FIFA as the world's number one team.

Belgium exceeded their collective xG tally by 3.15 – scoring seven against xG of 3.85 – the highest number by which any side surpassed their expected goals in their opening three games.

Their neighbours, the Netherlands, have also caught the eye. Ronald Koeman lifted the Oranje from their doldrums and successor Ronald de Boer has guided the team through the group stage as top scorers and with a 100 per cent record.

That Group C success, with eight goals scored and two conceded, came on the back of Georginio Wijnaldum scoring three times. In doing so, he has overtaken Marco van Basten and Dirk Kuyt on the list of the Netherlands' leading international goalscorers, moving to 25, one ahead of the former Milan and Liverpool forwards.

Or, to put it another way, Wijnaldum is halfway to matching Robin van Persie's record haul of 50 international goals.

 

Boring, boring England?

England, by netting only twice, became the lowest-scoring side to ever finish top of a group at a European Championship. They did not so much storm through Group D as plod a methodical path through to the last-16 stage, although an xG of 4.45 suggests England have at least been creating chances, albeit not finishing as well as they might.

Yet England might yet go far. Germany visit Wembley next Tuesday and will encounter English players who have only been dribbled past 12 times in the group stage, the lowest number among all competing teams. England's expected goals against (xGA) tally is a miserly 1.33, the second lowest in the tournament behind an Italy side (1.3) who have got it right at both ends of the pitch to.

Turkey's players were dribbled past on 36 occasions, a group-stage high, and only North Macedonia (8.85) had a higher xGA than Senol Gunes' team (7.69), who failed to live up to 'dark horse' expectations.

 

Riding their luck? Or being all out of it?

Wales conceded just twice, defying an xGA total of 5.47, and reached the knockout stage on the back of that. The gap of 3.47 between expectation and reality with that metric was the highest among all competing teams.

Conversely, Scotland scored just once against an xG of 4.00 – with 3.00 the highest negative difference between xG and goals scored.

Russia bowed out, and could hardly blame anyone but themselves. Their players made three errors leading to goals – more than any other side and the joint-most by any nation at a finals going back to 1980, the point from which records are available.

Hungary also exited the tournament. They predictably finished last in the 'group of death' – adrift of France, Germany and Portugal – but Hungary were surprisingly ahead for more minutes and trailed for fewer than any other team in that Group F campaign.

Denmark squeezed through in second place behind Belgium in Group B, becoming the first team in European Championship history to reach the knockout stages of the competition having lost their first two group stage games. After the alarm of the Christian Eriksen situation, many would love them to go further.

Would you Luka that!

Luka Modric became the oldest player to score for Croatia at the Euros, netting a gorgeous strike in the 3-1 win against Scotland at the age of 35 years and 286 days. That made it an unusual double for the veteran playmaker, who also holds the record for being Croatia's youngest scorer at the tournament (22 years 73 days versus Austria in 2008).

Modric continues to marvel, and there was a slice of history for another midfielder in the group stage as Switzerland's Steven Zuber became only the third player since 1980 to register three assists in a single European Championship game – doing so against Turkey – after Portugal's Rui Costa in his rampaging 2000 display that tormented England and Denmark's Michael Laudrup in 1984 against Yugoslavia.

Steve Clarke spoke of his pride after Scotland's first major tournament appearance in 23 years ended in a 3-1 defeat to Croatia.

But the 57-year-old also shared his belief that the disparity in tournament experience between the two sides was a decisive factor in the Scots exiting Euro 2020 at the group stage.

Having picked up just a point from their opening two games, both Scotland and Croatia needed a win at Hampden Park to secure a place in the round of 16.

And it was the visitors who got it, with Nikola Vlasic, Luka Modric and Ivan Perisic goals rendering a Callum McGregor equaliser - the first Scottish European Championship goal since Ally McCoist against Switzerland on June 18, 1996 - irrelevant.

Reflecting on the defeat, Clarke told ITV: "I'm proud of the players, the fact they managed to get here for the first time in 23 years, that was a big thing for the country, a big thing for this group of players. 

"I think you saw tonight a team that's tournament-hardened, Croatia, against a team at their first tournament in a long time. 

"We had a little spell just before half-time when we got the goal and looked exciting but Croatia are a top team and they showed that tonight."

Clarke declared a 2-0 defeat to the Czech Republic in the first group game to be a decisive result in an all-too-brief Scotland campaign.

But he has backed his young squad to learn important lessons from their first major international tournament.

He added: "I think we'll go away and learn from it for sure. Obviously starting on the back foot with losing the first game is something you'd need to address in the next one because that set us up for a difficult one. 

"We left everything on the pitch at Wembley against England on Friday and couldn't quite get it tonight. 

"I think through all the three games they've acquitted themselves well, they've tried their best, showed some good qualities. Obviously, as a coach I don't like to concede so many goals, it's something we have to work on a little bit, but we can improve. 

"We've got young players in the squad, it's a relatively young group of players, and we want to improve together and hopefully we can do that."

Captain Andy Robertson echoed his manager's sentiments and urged his team-mates to turn this into a glorious era for Scotland by ensuring they also qualify for the World Cup in Qatar next year.

He said: "We're a squad that still has a lot of potential, still relatively new to this and not a lot of caps between us and it's important we build on this. 

"It's important we don't take this as the high for this squad because we're a good team on our day and now we need to focus on September. 

"I know it's a long way away, we need to go away on holiday and finally rest, but come September we need to try and qualify for another tournament because it can't go another 23 years. 

"We want to be a team that qualifies for many tournaments and it become the norm that Scotland qualify. 

"That's in our own hands, but we'll think about that another day."

As for the Croatia skipper, Modric, he preferred to revel in his nation sealing safe passage to the knockout stages in second place behind England rather than the wonderful curler he netted to set up the win.

The Real Madrid midfielder is now his country's oldest and youngest ever scorer at a European Championship, having done so at both 35 years and 286 days and 22 years 73 days old.

He told Euro2020.com: "This goal means a lot to me but our play means more, from the beginning until the end. I am happy that my goal helped, but it's most important that the team won.

"We are happy because we played a big match and qualified for the next round.

"We were not happy with performances in the first two matches and we knew we could be better. When we play like this, we are dangerous to everyone."

England, Croatia and the Czech Republic are all heading into the last 16 of Euro 2020 following their respective results on Tuesday, but it was an unhappy evening for Scotland.

Gareth Southgate's Three Lions did what was required to secure top spot, knowing that anything other than a victory would have seen the Czech Republic go through as Group D winners.

At Hampden Park it was a straight shootout between Croatia and Scotland, with the victors prolonging their tournament or both departing early in the event of a draw.

Using Opta data, Stats Perform reviews the best facts from Group D's conclusion.

Czech Republic 0-1 England: Three Lions in historic progression despite struggles in front of goal

Much was made of England's toothless showing in the 0-0 draw with Scotland, with Harry Kane bearing the brunt of the criticism.

They were a little more effective against the Czechs as they at least managed to find the net once, and that was all they needed to reach the knockout stages of the Euros for their fourth consecutive tournament participation (2004, 2012 and 2016).

While Southgate's side played some vibrant football at times, there is still reason for concern in attack – they are the lowest-scoring Euros group winners in the competition's history (two goals).

They failed to attempt a single shot at goal in the second half of a match for the first time since October 2018, with their latest effort falling to Kane in the 26th minute.

Nevertheless, Jack Grealish seemed to justify his selection as he provided the assist for Raheem Sterling's crucial first-half header – the Aston Villa man has set up more goals for England (three) since his debut last September than any other player despite only featuring in nine of their 15 matches in that time.

There seems a strong possibility Grealish has earned his place in the team for the next game, and the same could be said for Sterling, who has now been involved in 20 goals (14 goals, six assists) in his past 19 games for England – he has ended up on the winning side in all 12 matches when finding the net for the national team.

 

Croatia 3-1 Scotland: Clarke's men cannot buck the trend

Scotland were buoyed by their 0-0 draw with England in the previous game, but against Croatia it was a similar story to their Euro 2020 opener against the Czech Republic.

Although Callum McGregor became Scotland's first Euros scorer since June 1996 with his equaliser late in the first half, Croatia's quality shone through in the second period.

Luka Modric put the visitors in front with a gorgeous outside-of-the-boot effort to become Croatia's oldest ever Euros goalscorer (35 years, 286 days) – he also still holds the record for their youngest scorer in the tournament (22y, 73d in 2008).

Ivan Perisic then made sure of the victory towards the end, glancing in a Modric corner to go level with Davor Suker as Croatia's all-time leading scorer at major tournament with nine goals.

It was Croatia's first ever win over Scotland in six meetings and consigned the Scots to successive defeats at Hampden Park for the first time since September 2019.

Scotland have now been eliminated at the group stages in all 11 of their appearances at major tournaments.

 

Croatia secured their place in the knockout stages of Euro 2020 and dumped Scotland out as they claimed a 3-1 win in Glasgow.

Having led through Nikola Vlasic's early strike, Zlatko Dalic's men were pegged back before half-time as Callum McGregor notched his country's first Euros goal since 1996.

However, the Croatians' class eventually told, the evergreen Luka Modric netting a stunner before the influential Ivan Perisic headed home from a corner late on, equalling his country's record for the most goals at major tournaments (nine).

And that ensured the visitors clinched second place in Group D while bringing an early end to the Scots' first major tournament appearance since 1998. 

Encouraged by an electric atmosphere at Hampden Park, Scotland made the better start.

But they failed to make the most of their best chance of a frenetic opening period, with Che Adams unable to get a touch on a John McGinn inswinger, allowing Dominik Livakovic to make the save.

And Croatia were not as generous when their first major opportunity came, with Vlasic making the most of space in the box to finish ruthlessly from a Perisic knockdown.

Scotland's chances were dealt a further blow just past the half-hour mark when Grant Hanley limped off, and his replacement Scott McKenna made an inauspicious start that saw a yellow card before a touch of the ball.

However, the Scots levelled things up just before the break when McGregor deftly controlled a panicked clearance before thrashing a low shot into the corner.

With a draw guaranteed to send both sides crashing out, it was no surprise to see them take more chances in looking to carve out attacks in the second period.

Croatia almost made it count when only brave goalkeeping from David Marshall prevented Josko Gvardiol poking home, though the same man was fortunate McGinn could only fire wide after getting on his wrong side moments later.

But it was a moment of sheer quality that eventually broke the deadlock, Modric curling home a beauty with the outside of his boot after slick play around the Scotland box.

The hosts huffed and puffed in the aftermath of that strike but did not really look like scoring before Perisic wrapped things up, flicking a front-post header into the far corner to send his side through.

What does it mean? More to come from Scotland

Although Steve Clarke will have hoped for more, Scotland cannot be too disappointed with their efforts throughout Euro 2020.

Qualifying represented a major achievement in itself, and this young squad will have plenty of opportunities to go one better at major tournaments in the future.

What's next?

England's win over the Czech Republic means Croatia progress as runners-up and will face the team that finishes in the same position in Group E in the last 16, either Sweden, Slovakia, Spain or Poland.

As for Scotland, a first tournament outing in 23 years comes to an end at the group stages.

England players Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell have been forced to self-isolate after coming into close contact with Billy Gilmour – the Scotland midfielder who tested positive for coronavirus.

Gilmour was named man of the match in Scotland's 0-0 Euro 2020 Group D draw at Wembley on Friday but it was confirmed on Monday he would have to isolate for 10 days, forcing him out of Tuesday's crunch clash with Croatia at Hampden Park.

England also conclude their group campaign with a match against the Czech Republic at Wembley, although manager Gareth Southgate has now had his plans disrupted after Mount and Chilwell interacted with their Chelsea team-mate.

"We don't know at the moment," Southgate said when asked at a pre-match news conference whether the pair would be available to play. 

"There's got to be quite a doubt but there's still a lot of discussions and investigations going on behind the scenes,

"At the moment they are isolating, we just have to find out over the next 12 hours or so."

The duo returned negative lateral flow tests on Monday and trained with their international colleagues but, on the advice of Public Health England, they will now be kept away from the rest of Southgate's squad and backroom staff until further advice is received.

"As a precaution at this time and in consultation with Public Health England, Ben Chilwell and Mason Mount are isolating after interaction with Scotland player Billy Gilmour at Friday's match," a statement published on England's official Twitter account read.

"The pair will be kept away from the rest of the England players and wider support team, pending further discussions with Public Health England.

"The entire squad had lateral flow tests on Monday afternoon and all were again negative, as was the case with Sunday's UEFA pre-match PCR tests.

"We will continue to follow all COVID-19 protocols and the UEFA testing regime, while remaining in close contact with Public Health England."

In the event of a 10-day isolation period, beginning from their contact with Gilmour, Mount and Chilwell would be ruled out of facing the Czech Republic – who are level on four points with England at the top of the group – but would be available to return for a potential last-16 encounter on Monday or Tuesday of next week, providing they do not return a positive COVID-19 test in the interim period.

Left-back Chilwell is yet to feature for England at Euro 2020 and did not make the matchday squad for their opening 1-0 win over Croatia.

Mount, who had been due to take part in the news conference alongside his boss, has been an integral part of Southgate's side for some time, however, starting both Three Lions' matches at the tournament so far.

England's performance in the draw with Scotland was heavily criticised and if Mount has to sit out against the Czechs, it would only further increase the clamour for Aston Villa's Jack Grealish to be handed a starting berth.

Croatia and Scotland face a must-win showdown at Hampden Park in Euro 2020 Group D – something that is not ideal for Zlatko Dalic's side.

In five previous meetings with Scotland, Croatia have never won (D3 L2). They have only faced world champions France (eight times) and reigning Euros kings Portugal (seven) more often without tasting victory.

But Scotland have been hit by a COVID-19 positive for Billy Gilmour after the Chelsea midfielder's man-of-the-match showing in the 0-0 draw with England.

That game at Wembley engendered a feelgood factor around Steve Clarke's squad, despite the fact they remain without a goal or a win in their two matches at the tournament so far.

Indeed, despite the impressive work overall of front two Che Adams and Lyndon Dykes last time out, Scotland have failed to score in five of their past eight matches at major tournaments (W1 D3 L4), with their 30 shots at Euro 2020 all fruitless.

"There’s been a good mood around the camp since we played England," Clarke said.

"I think the performance more than the result is what pleased us. We needed something from the game to make the last game the cup final it is, and we’re all looking forward to it."

Like Scotland, Croatia's haul of one point from two games means victory and hoping to finish as one of the four best third-place teams looks their most likely route through.

"I want this Croatia side to have support from the public, they deserve that, they deserve it for everything they've done for Croatian football," Dalic said. "As long as we have a chance to qualify, we need support."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Scotland – Scott McTominay

Gilmour's absence leaves a question mark over how Steve Clarke will use McTominay for this crunch clash. The Manchester United player reverted to a place in the back three against England, where he was a calming influence – his 54 touches more than any other Scotland player. When he featured in central midfield for the 2-0 defeat to the Czech Republic, no team-mate bettered McTominay's two tackles or three interceptions.

Croatia – Ivan Perisic

Mario Mandzukic and Ivan Rakitic are sorely missed and Luka Modric might be straining for the memory of his Ballon d'Or-winning form, but Croatia still have Perisic to fire their hopes of progress. The Inter winger's blistering strike to snatch a 1-1 draw against the Czechs kept them above water in the competition. It also made him the first Croatia player to score at four different major tournaments, with eight goals in such matches overall.

 

KEY OPTA FACTS

– None of the five matches between Croatia and Scotland have produced more than two goals.
– Scotland have only lost one of their past nine matches at Hampden Park, their opening reverse against the Czech Republic. They last suffered consecutive defeats there in 2019.
– Croatia have won only two of their previous 11 international matches across all competitions (D3 L6) and are winless in their past four (D2 L2). Scotland are looking to avoid failing to score in three consecutive competitive matches for the first time since three games between November 2003 and October 2004.
– Nikola Vlasic is the sole midfielder with five or more goals and five or more assists in each of the past three campaigns in the Russian Premier League. The only other player to do so in the competition is Zenit striker Artem Dzyuba.
– Andrej Kramaric is one of the three players to have scored 10 or more goals in each of the past five Bundesliga seasons, alongside Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry.

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