Czech Republic striker Patrik Schick scored twice to give his side a 2-0 win in their opening Euro 2020 game against Scotland at Hampden Park on Monday.
Schick’s finishing was the difference between the two sides, with his first goal in the 42nd minute coming from a smart header following Vladimir Coufal’s measured cross after the Scots failed to clear a corner.
Schick’s second in the 52nd minute was a work of art as he latched onto a rebound out of the Czech defense before hitting a 50-meter effort which curled and dipped over the stranded David Marshall in the Scottish goal.
Scotland had bad news before kick-off with Arsenal defender Kieran Tierney forced to sit the game out with a knee injury. He was replaced by Liam Cooper in a three-man defense.
Unbeaten in their last five games and roared on by 12,000 fans at Hampden Park, Scotland kicked off looking to take the game to the Czechs, with Andy Robertson their main threat.
The Liverpool defender whipped in a low cross which Lyndon Dykes sidefooted just wide in the 18th minute, before his curling shot was magnificently tipped over by Thomas Vaclik just after the half hour.
Another cross from Robertson produced a good defensive header from Ondrej Celustka as the Scots worked to get on top of a slightly scrappy encounter.
As the half came to an end, the Czechs exerted more pressure on the Scottish goal, forcing three consecutive corners, and after the Scots struggled to clear the ball, Schick, who had earlier headed over, opened the scoring after Coufal’s excellent cross in the 42nd minute.
Scotland coach Steve Clarke replaced Ryan Christie with Che Adams at the start of the second half, but the Czechs started on the front foot with Marshall saving twice in the first minute to frustrate Vladimir Darida.
At the other end, Jack Hendry’s curling shot bounced off the bar and Vaclik had to react fast to scoop out a sliced backpass, before Schick’s wonderful second goal stunned the home side.
Scotland tried to react with Stuart Armstrong’s shot deflected just over, before Vaclik twice saved from Dykes, with his first save a close-range block and the second a reflex save with his foot when the forward was odds-on to score.
Callum McGregor and Ryan Fraser came on as Scotland switched to a flat back four and put an extra man in midfield, but the Scots created and missed several chances before the final whistle.
In order to have a realistic chance of progressing to the knockout stages, Scotland needs to avoid defeat against England at Wembley in their next game on June 18.
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