world : Game faces on for Scotland as fans take over Munich

world : Game faces on for Scotland as fans take over Munich
world : Game faces on for Scotland as fans take over Munich

Thursday 13 June 2024 10:30 PM

Nafeza 2 world - And from the Scots, we heard fighting talk, we heard self-belief, we heard rallying words.

"Everyone's fully fit, flying, desperate to be selected and ready to go," said Clarke.

"We don't want any regrets," said captain Andy Robertson with a stern look on his face. "We're ready, excited, all eyes are on us and it's time to show what we can do."

Compared to the sedate language of earlier in the week, this was a different level. Scotland left Garmisch-Partenkirchen in early afternoon on Thursday and, clearly, on the coach trip through the Schwabing-Freimann district and the Werner-Heinsenberg-Allee road approach to the stadium, they put their game faces on.

History was one of the themes. Many men's Scotland teams with many immortal players have tried to make it out of the group stage of a major championship and none of them have ever managed it.

"We believe we can do it," said Robertson. Of course, times have changed and, with a 24-team European Championship now, it's easier now to do it than it ever was when Denis Law and Jimmy Johnstone and Kenny Dalglish and Graeme Souness were trying and failing.

Third in the group might be enough. "Four points" has been Clarke's mantra.

If they get even one point against Germany on Friday, then cue euphoria among the Scots in Bavaria. If they get three, then Oktoberfest will come early, dressed in a kilt with bagpipes skirling.

The perfect start is a dream for sure, but it's one that has sustained a reported 200,000 Scots travelling all the way to Munich.

They're everywhere. Everywhere! On the footpaths, in the bars and soon, no doubt, dunked in the fountains.

Not in the press room at the Allianz Arena in body but most certainly there in spirit. Robertson spoke about them. Clarke spoke about them. In part, the steeliness shown by the Liverpool full-back must come from an overriding desire to not let these people down.

Robertson has good memories of this stadium and a moral to draw on, if he so desires. In the spring of 2019 his club drew 0-0 at home to Bayern Munich in the knockouts of the Champions League. Not a lot of people gave Liverpool a chance of winning the return leg then, just as virtually nobody gives Scotland a chance of winning here now, but they did; they won 3-1.

He smiled at the memory of it. Jurgen Klopp, he said, would be at the game on Friday. He told Robertson in an exchange of texts a week ago.

"Hopefully he’ll enjoy his night, but not that much," Robertson said of his old manager.

It's now just gone 7.40pm in Munich. We're sitting in a deserted stand overlooking an empty pitch in a stadium without noise. In 24 hours you will not be able to hear yourself think in this place.

It will be the centre of Scotland's universe. The measure of its dreams. The calm is still here, just about, but the storm is coming. Oh boy is it coming.

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