, Brilliant Schick sends returning Scotland to defeat ahead of Spain opener, Nzuchi Times

Brilliant Schick sends returning Scotland to defeat ahead of Spain opener

, Brilliant Schick sends returning Scotland to defeat ahead of Spain opener, Nzuchi Times

Scotland’s return to a major international tournament for the first time in over two decades ended in a 2-0 defeat on Monday thanks to an excellent double from the Czech Republic’s Patrik Schick, as Covid-hit Spain prepare to launch their bid for a record fourth continental crown.

The Scots, absent from showpiece summer events since the 1998 World Cup, were sunk by Bayer Leverkusen striker Schick in front of 12,000 fans at Hampden Park.

In Glasgow, Scotland started brightly but fell behind shortly before half-time as Schick headed home Vladimir Coufal’s cross.

“The ball bounced back, the goalkeeper was quite high, I took a look, I saw he was out there so I slammed it in,” said Schick.

But there was no way through for Steve Clarke’s men, as the Czech Republic moved top of the early Group D table ahead of their game with Croatia at Hampden on Friday.

The Scots will next face old rivals England, who made a successful start to their campaign with a 1-0 win over Croatia on Sunday, at Wembley on Friday.

– Covid-hit Spain face Sweden –

Skipper Busquets is still self-isolating at home after testing positive for the virus, with Jordi Alba set to take the captain’s armband.

Luis Enrique’s training plan was thrown into disarray last week, with the squad training individually and the last friendly against Lithuania passed over to the under-21s.

“We have a great squad and we are excited for the first game.”

The action on the pitch in the pan-European tournament — delayed a year by the coronavirus pandemic — continues with Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen still in hospital following Saturday’s shocking collapse.

Teammate Kasper Schmeichel questioned the decision the team faced over whether to restart the match after Eriksen’s mid-game medical emergency. When the match did resume, Denmark lost 1-0.

Schmeichel said he wished someone more senior had stepped in to say “that it wasn’t the time to take that decision, and that we should maybe wait until the day after to decide”.

The players were able to talk to Eriksen via a video call on Sunday.

World Cup holders France are the favourites to win the continental crown and they begin their campaign against Germany in Munich on Tuesday, with holders Portugal facing Hungary in the other Group F match.

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