Football

Euro 2020: Steve Clarke insists Scotland not under pressure to face Czech

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Ahead of today’s Euro 2020 encounter against the Czech Republic at Hampden Park on Monday, Scotland manager, Steve Clarke wants his players to balance the excitement without letting the pressure of the occasion get to them.

Steve Clarke’s side are at their first tournament since the 1998 World Cup, having overcome Serbia in a thrilling playoff penalty shootout.

With a massive grudge match against England coming up in their second fixture at Wembley, Clarke’s men will be desperate to get off to a good start in front of a home crowd.

Scotland have failed to progress past the group stage in their two previous participations in the European Championship, but Clarke has put together a squad capable of challenging for a spot in the round of 16.

“I think when you qualify for the first time in 23 years you probably feel a little bit less pressure,” said Clarke.

“We’ve done well to be in the tournament, we’re looking forward to it, we’re going to give our best in every single game and try and make the next step to the knockout stages which would be a first for the men’s national team.

“I think the Tartan Army can get overexcited for us. We have to be excited, but we have to keep an emotional control so that when we get to the match we perform to our full potential and I feel we can do that.”

On the other hand, Czech Republic, though, will also certainly have their eyes on a position in the knockout round of the competition and will view Monday’s clash with Scotland as key to their chances of progression.

Jaroslav Silhavy’s side suffered a 4-0 defeat to Italy in their first pre-tournament friendly on June 4 but managed to return to winning ways on June 8 courtesy of a 3-1 success over Albania.

It is difficult to know exactly what to expect from the Czechs this summer, as they can be inconsistent, but a draw with Belgium in a 2022 World Cup qualifier back in March was an indication of their credentials.

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