Scotland midfielder John McGinn said Patrik Schick‘s sensational long-range strike to seal a 2-0 win for the Czech Republic is still haunting him, but is confident his side can bounce back to shock England on Friday.
In their first major tournament for 23 years, Scotland now have a mountain to climb to reach the last 16.
Hopes were high before the clash against the Czechs on Monday, but the failure of Steve Clarke’s side to take their chances and Schick’s brilliance ensured a disappointing start.
“That was a goal that will be talked about for years to come,” McGinn said on Wednesday. “I was right behind it and it’s still giving me nightmares watching it swing round. It was an absolute wonder goal.”
After an excellent season at Aston Villa, McGinn is one of a number of proven Premier League performers in the Scotland squad.
And he believes they can draw on the experience of playing against England’s star names on a weekly basis.
“We compete against the majority of these guys week in, week out, and we seem to hold our own,” he said.
“It’s about passing that message onto the guys that are based in Scotland or play elsewhere. We can more than compete.
“They are an excellent team full of world-class players both in the starting line-up and on the bench. But we know if we play to our capabilities we’ll give England a lot of problems.”
Scotland reached their first major finals for more than two decades thanks to two penalty shootout wins over Israel and Serbia.
In the play-off final in Belgrade in November, Clarke’s team conceded a last-gasp equaliser to Serbia, which sent the game into extra-time and spot-kicks.
After losing what on paper looked Scotland’s easiest game of Group D, with Croatia to come after the crunch clash with England, McGinn is hoping his country can again do it the hard way.
“Winning on Monday would’ve been the easy way,” he said. “That’s never the way with Scotland.
“If that had been the case we would’ve won 1-0 in Serbia and everyone would’ve been in their bed by midnight.
“But we decided to let Serbia get a goal and do it the tricky way, so hopefully we can follow the same path and do it the hard way, or the Scottish way.”