ERIN CUTHBERT: Scotland may be down at Euro 2020, but we’re definitely not out

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On Monday, I woke up like it was Christmas morning as I got ready to see Scotland’s men at a major tournament for the first time in my lifetime.

I watched the match with the rest of my Scotland team-mates at our base in Swansea before Tuesday night’s match against Wales.

We were in a room with a big flag out and we all had our Scotland match tops on before we went to training. We were all excited.

Scotland's Erin Cuthbert has insisted her country can still make it through their Euros group

Scotland’s Erin Cuthbert has insisted her country can still make it through their Euros group

A defeat by Switzerland in their opening match saw Scotland endure a difficult start this week

A defeat by Switzerland in their opening match saw Scotland endure a difficult start this week

A defeat by Switzerland in their opening match saw Scotland endure a difficult start this week

Hearing that Kieran Tierney was missing was a big shock, however. Nobody had any inkling that he wouldn’t be playing.

So when he wasn’t in the squad we were all surprised and I was a bit sceptical about how the match would go.

From then on, it was going to be a difficult game because Czech Republic are a team that sit in and limit the opposition to playing in front of them.

Star defender Kieran Tierney may have aided Scotland's cause by taking the ball into midfield

Star defender Kieran Tierney may have aided Scotland's cause by taking the ball into midfield

Star defender Kieran Tierney may have aided Scotland’s cause by taking the ball into midfield 

That’s why we needed a creative centre back like Tierney because when you play with a back three, or a back five, you take one away from the attack and midfield if you don’t get it right.

Tierney would have taken the ball into the middle of the park and added that extra body into the midfield area.

The first 10 minutes against the Czechs were great. But as the game continued, I thought we got a bit nervy. The ball was going under a few people’s feet and we were tackling each other at times.

We created a decent amount of chances. We just lacked clinical finishing. It’s a major tournament. It’s top level European football. You don’t get the same amount of chances you get at club level so when chances come around you need to make them count like Czech Republic did.

Patrik Schick's second goal was incredible but blame can't be put on stopper David Marshall

Patrik Schick's second goal was incredible but blame can't be put on stopper David Marshall

Patrik Schick’s second goal was incredible but blame can’t be put on stopper David Marshall

For his second goal, Patrik Schick could hit that shot 100 times and only score once. It was an incredible finish.

You can’t point the finger at David Marshall. We were pushing for an equaliser and he’s trying to sweep up to stifle the Czech attack and keep them penned in and under pressure. You can’t have it both ways. And you can’t anticipate or plan for what Schick did.

But when the goal went in, I smacked my bottle off the floor because we had been making chances and a goal was coming. It was typical Scotland.

We learned the hard way about tournament football on Monday. The players will look deep inside at what they could have done better and also at what they did well because there were positives to take from the game.

The style of the strike was typical Scotland with chances missed and a goal looking promising

The style of the strike was typical Scotland with chances missed and a goal looking promising

The style of the strike was typical Scotland with chances missed and a goal looking promising

Schick (seen celebrating his stellar long-ranger) could hit that shot 100 times and score once

Schick (seen celebrating his stellar long-ranger) could hit that shot 100 times and score once

Schick (seen celebrating his stellar long-ranger) could hit that shot 100 times and score once

And if facing England at Wembley on Friday doesn’t get the players back up for it, I don’t know what will.

We are probably going to make fewer chances against England but I think the game will maybe suit us more.

Scotland were expected to win their first game of the tournament but they won’t have as much of the ball at Wembley.

Steve Clarke sets his teams up to be hard to beat and, first and foremost, not concede.

Che Adams must start against England at Wembley, and he had showed his quality on Monday

Che Adams must start against England at Wembley, and he had showed his quality on Monday

Che Adams must start against England at Wembley, and he had showed his quality on Monday

That’s what he will do at Wembley. We just need to add that bit of attacking quality that we missed on Monday.

Che Adams has to start at Wembley, without a doubt. It’s non-negotiable. His quality shone through in the 45 minutes he played at Hampden.

He was on a high technical level, he injected pace, he chased for every ball, he wanted it. He will really want to make a difference against England.

Lyndon Dykes offers an aerial threat but England’s Tyrone Mings would love nothing more than be competing for headers all night. The pace of Adams would pose different problems.

Scotland may be down at the Euros - but they're certainly not out with two games left to play

Scotland may be down at the Euros - but they're certainly not out with two games left to play

Scotland may be down at the Euros – but they’re certainly not out with two games left to play

Should Dykes and Adams both start? I truly think that depends on if Tierney is fit because when you play two strikers, you take a bit of protection away from midfield.

If Tierney is there, he gives that extra protection in midfield and if so, I would like to see us play with two up front.

What I would say is that Scotland may be down right now – but we are certainly not out. We’ve got two more games to play against England and Croatia and we can still go through.

The players need to forget about the Czech Republic game and focus on being their best selves for the remaining two matches. And if they do that, they can write history.

When I saw Eriksen lying on the ground I froze 

On Saturday night, I had just got back from training with Scotland and it was five minutes before our team meeting when I got a text from a friend saying to turn on the television.

When I switched it on, I saw Christian Eriksen lying on the ground and I just froze.

When I went down to dinner with the team, everyone was totally silent.

Christian Eriksen collapsed during Denmark's Euros clash against Finland in harrowing scenes

Christian Eriksen collapsed during Denmark's Euros clash against Finland in harrowing scenes

Christian Eriksen collapsed during Denmark’s Euros clash against Finland in harrowing scenes

I’ve been knocked out of the World Cup, I’ve been knocked out of the Euros.

I know what that feels like but this was an atmosphere of genuine worry. I’ve never known anything like it.

Nobody spoke. Some of the girls were visibly upset and none of us ate our dinner until we heard Christian was stable in hospital.

What it brought home was it could happen to any one of us. We just don’t know when our time is up.

Eriksen is now in a stable condition - and Cuthbert has shared her respect for his team-mates

Eriksen is now in a stable condition - and Cuthbert has shared her respect for his team-mates

Eriksen is now in a stable condition – and Cuthbert has shared her respect for his team-mates

As footballers, we get heart scans, all the medical checks, but it doesn’t pick up something like that. You just don’t know what lies around the corner.

The picture of the Danish wall of players around Eriksen, and the captain Simon Kjaer comforting Eriksen’s wife, were truly powerful images that should be shared far and wide. Not the zoom-in shot of Eriksen or the camera panning to his wife.

I’ve nothing but respect for that Danish team and their captain for the unity they showed when faced with such a horrible situation.



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Written by bourbiza

Bourbiza Mohamed. Writer and Political Discourse Analysis.

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