Sunday, July 21, 2024

Havertz on the scoresheet, on a horrible night for Scotland

Morning.

The Euros kicked off last night and there was Arsenal interest as Kai Havertz started up front for Germany, with Kieran Tierney at the back for Scotland. It’s fair to say it was not a good night for him, but a far better one for Kai.

1-0 down early on with a shot the keeper should have done better with, Havertz set up the impressive Jamal Musiala for the second. There was a fairly lengthy VAR check to decide on a penalty which ultimately wasn’t, but just before half-time, Ryan Porteous was rightly shown a red card for a horrible challenge on Ilkay Gundogan, and Scotland were down to 10 men and facing a penalty. Havertz stepped up to score, he’s good from the spot, and that was always going to be that in terms of the result.

The question was really about how the scoreline would end up after 90 minutes, and I have to say I was a bit worried for Scotland. Even 11 v 11 you could see a significant gulf in quality and performance levels between the two sides, and Germany had 15 shots in the second 45 – 10 more than they did in the first half. It could have been worse. The fourth goal from Niclas Fullkrug was a hell of a finish, and Emre Can added the fifth with another shot the keeper should probably have done better with. Scotland’s goal came via the head of Antonio Rudiger, an own goal of real quality.

So, a very good start for Germany, and a rotten one for Scotland who have to lick their wounds before they face Switzerland on Wednesday. It was always going to be tough for them in this opening game, but they now have to find a way to lift spirits and go again. I’m not sure Roy Keane’s post-game advice is particularly helpful:

“My goodness when you’re playing football at this level you’ve got to hit people, hit them properly, hit them aggressively, do it in the right way. You step off against them like Scotland did tonight… it’s no good talking after the game saying ‘we had a gameplan’. It’s all just rubbish coming out.”

I sort of get what he’s saying, but better organisation and players doing their jobs when it comes to positioning, tracking runners etc would probably be more useful. Not a great night for Tierney either, I thought the moment early on when he celebrated winning a goal kick was a bit strange. In the 90th minute when you’re hanging on for a point, I understand it 100%, but in the third minute? It stood out. Arsenal will be hoping a good tournament on the big stage will generate some transfer interest in the left-back, so let’s hope things improve for him and Scotland in the next couple of games.

Today, the early game sees Hungary face Switzerland, Granit Xhaka formerly of this parish involved there. In the afternoon there’s a tasty one between Spain and Croatia, with David Raya in the Spanish squad, while Jorginho’s Italy take on Albania later on tonight.

Elsewhere, David Ornstein reports that Reiss Nelson has told Arsenal he’s open to a departure this summer:

I think this is the right thing for him at this point in his career. One Premier League start in four years tells its own story, and heading into his mid-20s, he needs to go and play regularly somewhere. I have to admit I reckon Arsenal’s valuation is somewhat on the optimistic side, I think if got half that we’d be doing well, but let’s see how it plays out.

Right, let’s leave it there for now. If you need something to listen to this Saturday, we’ll be starting our Euros podcast coverage over on Patreon – you can sign up for $6 a month at patreon.com/arseblog.

For now, have a good one.

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