Scotland reach first major tournament in 22 years
Scotland Men’s Football team have made it to the Euro Championships next summer. On Thursday, the 12th of November, Scotland faced Serbia in a Euro’s Playoff. Both teams made it here by qualifying through their respected Nations League groups, and not the conventional way through Euro Qualifying groups.
This was a big moment in Scottish football, as the team had not qualified for a major championship since 1998. The Serbians had the home advantage, by playing at their home stadium, and on paper were the favorites for this match as Scotland had scraped past Israel on Penalties in their Semi-final playoff game.
The first half saw Scotland control the game for the first 15-20 minutes, however their worthy opponents started to see more of the ball as the half went on. Despite both teams having large spells of the ball in the first half, either failed to create a truly clear-cut chance. Both teams went in at halftime knowing that they needed to create more chances, as the score line was 0-0.
The second half began, and Scotland went straight on the front foot, as they started to create more around and in the box. As the clock ticked over to the 52nd minute, a scrappy bit of buildup play from Scotland saw the ball bounce towards Ryan Christie. A tame effort from outside the penalty area managed to deceive the keeper and trickled past him onto the inside of the post and deflecting in. Scotland managed to keep their intensity almost managing to get a second in quick succession, it was clear that Ryan Christie was their danger man as their creativity was stemming through him.
As the second half went on Serbia started to create more, and with the introduction of Real Madrid striker, Luka Jovic, the game turned on its head. The last 10 minutes was all Serbia, creating many a chance which was cleared off the line or saved by David Marshall, the Scottish goalkeeper. The 90th minute of the game came, and Serbia had a corner. The ball was floated in and it landed on the head of Jovic, he headered it into the ground and it bounced over Marshall. Many Scotland fans were probably having that similar feeling of disappointment. The game finished 1-1 and was going to Extra Time.
At the start of Extra Time, it was clear that Scotland were holding out for Penalties. Serbia had a large amount of possession and created chances. Despite this, Scotland were able to hold out and defend most of what came their way, and at the same time frustrating Serbia who could not find a second goal. As Extra Time ended, Penalties began.
The first eight penalties all found the net, with the Serbian keeper coming close to saving a couple. Scotland’s last penalty was taken by Kenny McLean, who converted confidently. Aleksandar Mitrovic was up next for Serbia, the Fulham striker looked confident, he stepped up and it was saved by Marshall. Marshall celebrated; however, it took a second of realization that they had won the Penalty Shootout and were going to the Euros. Later that night images and videos emerged of the euphoric Scotland on Social Media dancing and singing in the changing rooms and at the hotel.