Kane’s late strike salvages a point for Three Lions
Scotland 2 ( Griffiths 87′, 90′ ) – England 2 ( Oxlade-Chamberlain 70′, Kane 90′ )
Harry Kane struck deep into injury time to salvage a point for England against eternal rivals Scotland.
Hampden Park was sent into tizzy in the dying minutes of the game as Griffith struck twice to cancel Oxlade-Chamberlain’s goal and give Scotland a lead, which was eventually cancelled out by Kane’s late strike.
Prior to this match, no side in Group F had managed to score a goal against the Three Lions but they were on the receiving end today as the Scots managed to lay England’s defence twice.
Earlier, Gordon Strachan had decided to make two changes to the Scotland side that started the victory at home to Slovenia, with Christophe Berra and Ikechi Anya coming into the starting line-up to replace Russell Martin and James Forrest, respectively.
Meanwhile, England’s boss Gareth Southgate decided to make 5 alterations to the team that featured in their last outing, with Stones, Keane, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sterling and Defoe making way for Cahill, Smalling, Livermore, Rashford and Kane.
After an impeccable minute’s silence was held for the victims of the London terror attacks, a lively Hampden Park witnessed Scotland start with plenty of gutso.
It took only two and a half minutes for Scott Brown to register his name on the yellow card. After a patient start to the game from both sides, Alli received the ball inside the Scotland half of the pitch and was immediately clattered into by Brown, leaving the referee with no choice but to book the Celtic midfielder.
Though Scotland were the better team in the opening 20 minutes, the first real chance to score in the match fell in Argentina’s path. Harry Kane had a great chance to score in the 18th minute when the Spurs striker latched on to a lovely chipped pass from Dier before spinning past Kieran Tierney and shooting, but he couldn’t hit the target with his volleyed strike and he sent the ball high over the top of the crossbar.
Joe Hart was largely a bystander in the England goal, though, with Griffiths’ tame 20-yard effort easily held.
Kane had another chance to give his team the lead but Scotland somehow held on deny Harry. In the 22nd minute Lallana weaved his way into the left-hand side of the Scotland penalty area on a beautiful run. He beat two defenders and then chipped a deft pass into Kane’s path in front of the goal, but the stand-in captain’s attempted back-hell didn’t connect with ball and the Scottish defender quickly cleared the danger.
England had another opportunity to score near the half-hour mark when a poorly attempted headed clearance by Gordon found Kane, who immediately tried to bet the goalkeeper with a looping volley. Tierney cleared the danger but only as far as Rashford, who blasted a shot wide of the goal.
Both the teams went into the dressing room with the scores tied at 0-0.
The first real chance after the break came in the 57th minute when Griffiths held up the ball well on the left-hand side of the English penalty area before teeing up Robertson. The wing-back was in acres of space 20 yards away from the goal and was able to shoot, but he couldn’t hit the target and sent his strike over the top of crossbar.
England finally broke the deadlock in the 70th minute. Oxlade-Chamberlain, who stepped on the pitch barely five minutes before the goal, weaved his way into the right-hand side of the Scotland penalty area before unleashing a shot that Gordon could only palm into the bottom corner of the net.
England’s happiness was short lived as Griffiths struck with an outstanding free-kick in the 87th minute to level the scoreline. Griffiths stepped up and unleashed a brilliantly curling strike that flies past the outstretched limbs of Hart and into the top right-hand corner.
Griffiths striked again in the 90th minute to send the crowd inside the Hampden Park into tizzy. The Celtic man easily beat Hart with yet another brilliant free-kick. He curled the ball into the left-hand side of the net to put Scotland on the brink of a famous Group F victory.
The drama wasn’t finished, though, as Kane – wearing the armband in place of the absent Rooney – met Sterling’s swinging cross to silence the home fans. Scotland seemed to switch off defensively and allowed the Tottenham Hotspur striker to break forward too easily. A lovely, swinging cross from Sterling sails over to the far post and picks out Kane, who skipped through Scotland’s defensive line before beating Gordon with a side-to-side, close-range volley.
A draw means England have left the chasing pack an opportunity to gain ground, with Slovenia three points back in second, while Slovakia will close within two by beating Lithuania. For Scotland, this 2-2 draw means their chances of automatic qualification remain remote at best with the gap to England at six, while they are three points off second.