Football Features

“Holy Schick!” – England’s Euro challenge gets harder as Czech Republic brush Scotland aside at Hampden Park

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 16:23, 14 June 2021

In an exciting afternoon of football, the Czech Republic beat Scotland 0-2 at Euro 2020 thanks to a sublime brace from striker Patrik Schick

While Schick’s first goal was the kind of towering header than anyone who has ever played the game would acknowledge is absurdly difficult to score and deserving of far more praise then it usually gets – his second was the real show-stopper.

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With the ball breaking to Schick just inside the Scotland half after a woefully timed long-range blast from Jack Hendry, the Czech striker didn’t hesitate at all. He ran up to the ball and struck it so sweetly, launching the ball in a perfect parabolic arc off his foot as the thing span away, dipped back heavily and dropped into the back of the net.

David Marshall was off his line, sure, but Schick put it right into the top corner – it would have been hard to save even with the goalie secured safely on his line. This thing was perfectly weighted, angled and struck. A goal worthy of winning any match and a strike that had everyone on their feet screaming “Holy Schick!” as the Czech forward moved level with Romelu Lukaku as the competition’s top scorer.

This is a goal that will absorb all the headlines and the attention, which is both justifiable and also a shame because the Czech’s performance was quite positive in many aspects as, frankly, were the Scots despite the emphatic defeat on the scoreline. In fact, with two games still to play in this group, one each against both of these teams, the real loser of this match is England!


Tomorrow’s big game at Euro 2020:

  • 20:00 – France vs. Germany
  • The World Champions will be out to try and add the European crown to their global one.
  • This is Germany’s last tournament with Joachim Low as coach, will he go down swinging.
  • Will the Giroud vs. Mbappé drama spill out onto the pitch?
  • Champions League boost? Will Werner and Havertz build on their heroics in Chelsea’s big win?

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The Three Lions play Scotland next and then close out the group against the Czech Republic. And while their meandering win over Croatia would have given the hope, seeing these two play at this ferocious pace will cause Gareth Southgate concern.

Firstly, Scotland just lost. Which means if they don’t beat England at Wembley they are likely to struggle to qualify for the next round. That means they will fly at England from the very start and play with an intensity that will have to be matched if it is to be overcome. Not that England can’t do that but Scotland’s mentality is potent; they kept on coming at the Czech Republic today, never giving up despite the score.

And if Steve Clarke selects a better XI, one that starts Che Adams for instance, then will England have an easy time defending the Scottish attack? Tomas Vaclik had to play a blinder to keep a clean sheet at Hampden, diving all around his goal to make incredible saves. Is Jordan Pickford capable of such saves? Are his arms long enough? These are serious questions which could now be posed of England as they face an opponent with an unquestionable greater need for victory than themselves.

Secondly, even if England find their way past Scotland they will face the Czech Republic in a showdown for group leadership. And while Gareth Southgate showed little interest in that back at the World Cup, here it matters because the runner-up from this group will face the winners from Group F aka France-Germany-Portugal-Hungary aka the group of death. Not where you want to be.

So they have to beat the Czechs, who look more mentally resilient than many would have given them credit for before the tournament. Today they absorbed Scotland’s fast start and then began to ease their way back into the game. Their goalie was great, they used width well and Tomas Soucek is a dangerous and unique attacking weapon.

Moreover, the Czech Republic have a top-class striker in Patrik Schick, the exact kind of presence the Croatians didn’t have (hell given Kane is limping around right now the Czech no. 10 might even be the best striker in the group). Schick is the exact kind of player who could punish any weakness in the English defence because his skill-set is so varied he can score towering headers or 45 yard stunners with similar levels of ease and execution. If there’s a weakness in Tyrone Mings and John Stones, Patrik Schick will find it and exploit it.