Raheem Sterling celebrates with his England teammates after scoring the winner against Croatia

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With contrasting fortunes in their opening games, England and Scotland have a better idea of what they need to do to get to the knockout rounds of Euro 2020.

Where Gareth Southgate’s side have one foot in the round of 16, Scotland need a result at Wembley on Friday to give themselves a fighting chance of escaping the group.

After England’s 1-0 win against Croatia and Scotland’s 2-0 defeat to the Czech Republic, the two sides will also have a much clearer picture of their comparative strengths and weaknesses.

Here are the big talking points as the old rivals size each other up ahead of the big game.

All bets are off, England vs Scotland is a derby

Steve Clarke needs his players to give their all at Wembley

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Anyone with a consignment of straws? Now would be a good time to dispatch them up north, because a nation is desperate for one to clutch before their team’s trip to Wembley on Friday. 

Scotland manager Steve Clarke must be struggling to know how to repair shattered confidence after the opening defeat to the Czech Republic. He needs to dig into his reserves and, perhaps, the history books to find a positive spin. 

The most obvious is that England vs Scotland is an international derby, so chuck that form book away. Remember the Euro 2000 play-offs when England outclassed the Scots in Glasgow, only to be defeated by Don Hutchison’s header at Wembley a few days later? 

These fixtures are never as one-sided as the most boastful or pessimistic predictions suggest, so it’s not over for the Scots yet.

England Infobox

At least Scotland have Andy Robertson

Andy Robertson (right) shows his disappointment after Scotland's defeat to the Czech Republic

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Whatever the line-ups at Wembley, Scotland will have the best left-back on the pitch. 

True, there’s a chance they will have the only left-back on the pitch if England’s Kieran Trippier keeps his place, but that’s not the point. It would be true whoever Southgate selected. 

Robertson was given the freedom of a wing-back in Clarke’s formation, and with better quality finishing from his expert deliveries the outcome could have been different at Hampden. Clarke has to make his players believe they will create chances at Wembley, and Kyle Walker knows he will have his hands full stopping Robertson. 

On the flipside, whoever gets the nod on England’s right – presumably Phil Foden or Jack Grealish – will have been salivating seeing the space beyond Robertson whenever he dashes forward. If Kieran Tierney is out, it could be a long night for whoever plays as Scotland’s left-sided centre-back.
 

Scott McTominay vs Mason Mount can set the tone

Mason Mount (left) alongside Declan Rice

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It’s a deep Manchester United midfielder vs an attacking Chelsea one, both fighting for supremacy in that territory in front of the Scottish defence. 

Just your usual high class Premier League showdown, then? Fair enough, Mount has considerably more quality around him, but the Scottish midfield is sure to be more compact on Friday night and keeping the in-form Chelsea man away from possession in those ‘pockets’ will be central to Clarke’s plans. 

Clarke obviously wanted to be bold against the Czechs. He went for it and it went wrong, his side failing to take their chances as the opposition took theirs. 

Southgate will not be daft enough to expect such an open encounter at Wembley, so England will surely have to work harder than the Czechs to carve out opportunities. 
 

Can Scotland find a cutting edge up front?

Scotland striker Lyndon Dykes forces a save from Czech Republic goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik

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"The difference was they were more clinical," said Steve Clarke after the Czech defeat, mastering understatement. It can sound like a small detail. At international level, it is gargantuan. 

With respect, Scotland do not have the attacking weapons to hurt high quality teams with aspirations of going far in the tournament. Their forward options are honest and willing, but when opportunities presented themselves on Monday they lacked class and composure. 

It’s hard to imagine they will have as many opportunities at Wembley, which makes their task even tougher. Southgate will not say as much, but it should ensure England do not suffer greatly if Harry Maguire is still missing.  

For John Stones and Tyrone Mings, Friday’s challenge will be as much about concentration as defensive prowess, particularly from set pieces. 

Scotland Infobox

Southgate will have the cavalry waiting

Gareth Southgate has several super subs he can call upon

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The only way Scotland can get a result at Wembley is by executing the mother of all rearguard actions and sneaking a goal on the counter-attack or from a set-piece. But even if they can keep Southgate’s side frustrated until the latter stages, no England manager in recent memory has been so blessed with options from the bench. 

Whether it’s Grealish, Marcus Rashford or the aerial presence of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Southgate can turn to plan B and C if necessary. What was a Scottish back three against the Czechs is bound to be a back five against England. 

Whatever attacking line-up Southgate opts to start with, he might finish with a comparable, high-class front three. Clarke has no such luxury. 

With so much in England’s favour, there is no disguising the scale of the Scots’ task. To say an away win would be historic is putting it mildly.