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Tough Euro Group For Scotland
Scotland face a tough Euros group having been paired with England, Croatia and the Czech Republic, so this is a good test for Steve Clarke’s side in preparation.
The former Kilmarnock boss has caused a stir with uncapped trio Nathan Patterson, David Turnbull and Billy Gilmour making his squad selection, as well as Kevin Nisbet, who has only been capped once, but the general approach should remain the same.
Clarke knows how to set up a defence as he proved with his Killie side as they conceded just 31 times in 38 games on their way to a third-place finish in the 2018/19 season.
The plan for the Euros will inevitably centre around being tough to break down and although Che Adams has committed his international future to them, Clarke is bereft of top-level attacking talent and in particular a clinical marksman.
Netherlands To Win To Nil
Prior to thumping the Faroe Islands 4-0 in their last outing, seven of Scotland’s past eight matches had seen fewer than three goals, while five featured a single strike or none at all.
That win over the minnows was however their first success in five appearances, as they suffered 1-0 defeats away at both Slovakia and Israel, before producing stalemates with Austria and then when taking on Israel again.
Scotland’s last taste of encountering a top side came when facing Belgium in the Euro qualifiers back in 2019, where they were subjected to heavy 3-0 and 4-0 defeats.
They also went down by an aggregate 6-1 in their clashes against Russia within that same group. Those fixtures came in the early days of Steve Clarke’s tenure, but there’s little evidence to suggest they’ll carve out enough opportunities to seriously trouble the Netherlands.
Frank de Boer became the first Dutch manager to fail to win at is first four attempts in charge of the national side, though he’s since won four of five matches.
Although the only clean sheets the Netherlands have kept in their past seven outings have come against Latvia and Gibraltar, they did also square off with Italy, Spain, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Poland and Turkey – with all but Bosnia ranked higher than Scotland in FIFA’s world rankings.
At least one team or the other had failed to score in the Netherland’s previous six appearances, as they kept four clean sheets, so there’s good reason to think they can thwart Scotland given their opponent’s limited striking options.
Netherlands To Win And Under 3.5 Goals
Past head-to-heads would suggest the same as the Netherlands have won each of their last four meetings by a combined 11-0, though the last two clashes have only resulted in more measured 1-0 scorelines.
The most recent encounter came in November 2017 but in fact, eight of the last 11 tussles have seen just a single goal or none at all. 15 of Scotland’s 18 defeats since 2016 have seen them fail to register a blow in return, while 14 of those losses featured a maximum of three goals, so we would expect defeat without humiliation here.