Scottish hope, English expectations as historic rivals meet for Wembley Euro 2020 clash

The weather has been very British in London as England and Scotland meet in a major tournament for the first time in a quarter of a century but despite the rain, Scotland's fans have certainly made their presence felt.

Some of them descended on the capital yesterday, but there were plenty more reinforcements shuttled in on matchday, all in good spirits and good voice.

A combination of the rain and coronavirus restrictions meant the Scottish invasion was not quite as visible or audible as it might have been had this game been played in the sweltering weather these teams started their campaigns in, but they were still impossible to ignore.

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Almost everywhere you looked there was someone in a kilt, or with a flag draped over their shoulders. Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn's song has been sung on a loop for hours - Steve Clarke's man, better than Zidane, it is clear the visiting supporters have high hopes for him.

PARTY: Scottish fans descend on Leicester Square ahead of their Euro 2020 game against England at Wembley

Many travelled without tickets - they had paid for their travel and accommodation before being asked not to - and partied like social distancing was something other people did.

By the time kick-off approached, no one in London could surely have been unaware there was a game on at Wembley and not all of them looked al that enthusiastic about the idea. John Motson and Clive Tyldesley's voices are regularly heard over the tannoy on the underground urging good Covid-19 hygiene. What strange times we live in.

On the tube there was chatter about who might be playing - Scott McTominay dropping into the defence, possibly with Leeds United captain Liam Cooper dropping out? A first international start for Chelsea's Billy Gilmour?

Not that there were not plenty of England fans too, though they felt a bit more subdued. Qualification can be secured tonight but they have everything to lose to.

By and large the Scots are here in hope, not expectation. "It's coming home, isn't it?" said the English driver over the tannoy as he pulled into Kings Cross this afternoon.

England fans trying to second-guess Gareth Southgate would do well to learn the lessons of his selection against Croatia and not bother. He has so many options, all sorts of things are possible.

It has all been good natured. Boos from the Scottish contingent the minute a gaggle of England-shirted supporters stepped onto the tube were quickly followed by handshakes. Hopefully we all have a little more perspective than we might have had this game been played as planned last year.

As for the mood afterwards, one gets the impression that English expectations are so high, anything but victory will be hard to take. The Scots are here to enjoy themselves, and will realise they are not going to be heading home with a bit of crossbar.

But matches between England and Scotland do not always stick too closely to the script. It promises to be a fascinating evening.

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