Billy G, our son, was not the one for Steve Clarke yesterday, as the Scotland boss and former Chelsea right back chose not to pick his fellow Blue, and left Gilmour on the bench throughout their 0-2 defeat to the Czech Republic.
Perhaps Clarke will see the light and pick the 20-year-old (as of four days ago!) for a dance in the round before the end of the tournament.
Billy Gilmour is going to get a 30-minute go against Croatia, look excellent, and people will be asking why he didn't get more playing time.— Chelsea Youth (@chelseayouth) June 14, 2021
Gilmour’s un-involvement aside, the match will be long remembered for one of the most outrageous strikes ever seen at a major international tournament, as Patrik Schick scored the longest goal on record at the European Championships by lobbing David Marshall from the halfway line.
And it was no lucky shot either, with Schick putting a mean bend on the ball to place it precisely, and executing perfectly on a plan he had been formulating throughout the preceding 50+ minutes of the game.
“I checked already in the first half, for maybe when this situation will come: I knew he stayed very high [off his line], so when the ball came, I just did a quick check, where is he standing, I saw him off his line, so I tried.”
-Patrik Schick; source: ESPN
Schick, 25, currently plays his football for Bayer Leverkusen. Always rated him. Ex-Chelsea Loan Army warrior Tomáš Kalas played the full 90 to help keep the clean sheet (Scotland did hit the bar once, and forced the goalkeeper into a couple excellent saves).
Speaking of players I’ve always rated, Marek Hamšík and Milan Škriniar both excelled as Slovakia recorded a surprisingly easy 2-1 win over Poland, sticking to a solid counter-attacking gameplan and then also taking advantage of a sending off for Poland. Most importantly, they kept Robert Lewandowski isolated and quiet.
Ex-Manchester City prospect Róbert Mak opened the scoring with a lucky shot after a strong individual move saw him shake off two defenders, before Inter tower of power Škriniar scored the winner in the 69th minute. Nice. Poland had equalized just seconds into the second half, but were largely unable to break down a disciplined Slovak setup.
Best player born in my hometown, László Bénes did not see any action. Still waiting for the 23-year-old midfielder to truly make that next step forward.
Speaking of steps forward, Spain took a zero of them in their dour scoreless draw against Sweden, which didn’t feature César Azpilicueta, but featured all the classic hallmarks of modern Spanish football, as they tried to pass their opponents to death, and put the audience to sleep at the same time. Former Chelsea flop Álvaro Morata had a couple chances but fluffed them in classic style, while at the other end, Marcus Berg out-Moratad Morata by somehow wasting a chance from about 2 yards out (after strong work from 21-year-old Alexander Isak, who was probably the only player to raise pulses in the entire game). This was a truly terrible game and let us never speak of it again.