Friendly: England, Scotland both in form as football's oldest rivalry resumes

Friendly: England, Scotland both in form as football's oldest rivalry resumes
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Published November 16th, 2014 - 22:17 GMT via SyndiGate.info

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England look forward to Scotland test
England look forward to Scotland test

England and Scotland resume football's oldest international rivalry on Tuesday with both sides on a fine run of form.

The two close out their 2014 calendars Tuesday at Celtic Park in Glasgow following victories in Euro 2016 qualifying. It will be the 112th meeting since they first played in 1872.

And while it may be just a friendly, England manager Roy Hodgson says fans can expect nothing less than the maximum effort from his team.

"We will take this game very seriously," Hodgson said. "Please don't get the impssion that is not the case and I don't have a lot of respect for it, because I do.

"It's a great game - Scotland v England - a great fixture. There's always going to be pssure."

England enter the game with five consecutive victories overall - their best run since 2008. They've won all four of their Euro qualifiers to lead Group E by six points.

The most recent saw captain Wayne Rooney mark his 100th cap with a goal and Danny Welbeck score a brace in a 3-1 win over Slovenia Saturday at Wembley Stadium.

After falling behind from Jordan Henderson's own goal that ended a run of five consecutive cleans sheets, Rooney drew England level with a penalty. Welbeck gave the hosts the lead seven minutes later and clinched victory with his fifth goal of qualifying.

"We've got a good winning mentality," Rooney said after becoming the ninth Englishman, and the youngest at 29, to reach 100 caps. "I think you've seen that once we went 1-0 down."

"We knew it was going to be tough night, even tougher after they scored but the character we've shown was great."

Scotland has been the surprise of qualifyng Group D - sitting joint second with world champion Germany and Ireland behind leaders Poland - following their 1-0 win over the Irish on Friday.

Shaun Maloney scored the only goal with 15 minutes remaining as the Scots stretched their unbeaten run in qualifying to three games after an opening 2-1 defeat against world champions Germany.

Except for the years during the two World Wars, England and Scotland played annually between their initial goalless draw in 1872 and 1989.

Because of increased international fixtures involving qualifiers, the two have met only four times since then with the most recent a 3-2 England win in an August 2013 friendly.

Hodgson admitted the rivalry isn't as fierce as it was back in the old days, when both the players and the fans into matches with an edge. That, however, doesn't lessen the intensity when the two neighbours square off.

"I rather like the Scots," he said. "I have a lot of close friends who are Scots. The idea that because you are English you immediately dislike the Scots, that passed me by.

"Scotland are a footballing team. They are good footballers and I think we've got good footballers. So I think it will be a fierce footballing contest rather than a fierce physical contest."

© 2014 dpa GmbH

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