What A Disaster!
Updated Saturday, 7th September 2002
The most embarrassing performance I have ever seen by a Scotland side.
Oh my god! Scotland stumbled to an embarrassing draw against the Faroe Island in the first of their EURO2004 Group 5 qualifiers. The performance of a team full of professional full-time players against a country that has only one professional player was one to miss if you were lucky. We really just scrapped a draw to get a single point on the table. The part-time Faroe Island players were in control for most of the game (and all of the first half) and scored early in the first half. Both of the home goals were scored by John Petersen. The second half allowed Scotland to struggle and get two goals back from the men that Berti Vogts considers to be the backbone of this team, Paul Lambert and Barry Ferguson. The second came with 8 minutes to go and we could not manage to get the vital third. In fact, the Faroes probably deserved to win the game and only some desperate (and I really mean desperate) defending save Scotland walking away from the match pointless. It is not being unkind to say that Scotland offered a performance of total ineptitude.
The omens looked good for Scotland when Dobie put Knudsen in the home goal under pressure in the sixth minute after good work by Crainey. However the striker was penalised for a push on the keeper. This allowed the Faroes to set up their first goal from the resultant free kick. As so often during the game, Scotland gave the opposition too much time and space and we paid for it. Jakob Borg was only too happy to take advantage of the room to send in a cross from the right. Petersen managed to get between our two defenders and he easily and unchallenged headed beyond Douglas. It was the same pairing who doubled the advantage just over 5 minutes later.
With Maurice Ross and Davie Weir marking fresh air Petersen got on the end of a similar cross from Borg and sent the ball into the net with his left instep. While Scotland had the advantage regarding possession, they did not make much use of it. You had to wait nearly half an hour to see Scotland's first effort on goal when Kevin Kyle flashed his header over the bar. Scotland tried to reduce the deficit as the game moved towards half time. Chances fell to Allan Johnston (sidefooted a volley which ended the wrong side of the post after a good knock-down by Kyle), Christian Dailly (awful touch when he only had to lob Knudsen) and Kyle (with a header that went well wide). This meant that the half ended Faroe Island's 2 Scotland 0
The second half started with Scotland looking as if they had the type of rollicking they deserved. The first chance fell to Kyle who should have done better than to head the ball past the post. Then it look as if Petersen was going to go home with the ball. He ran onto a precise cutback, but just as he went for goal the ball bobbled and it flew over the bar. Scotland were looking increasingly desperate as they pressed for a goal. We nearly got one but Kyle struck the top of the bar . We did not have to wait long for the ball to be in the home net. It was a lucky break as a long throw eventually fell to Lambert. His shot was heading wide before it took two freak deflections and ended up in the back of the net. The Faroes did not collapse after that and they almost restored their two-goal lead immediately. As time and time again, the Faroes easily cut the Scottish defence open Thankfully the final shot was comfortably held by Douglas.
Scotland did look as if they were really trying but their touch was left on the sidelines and they huffed and puffed to little effect for long periods. Chance came and went for Stevie Crawford and then Scott Dobie when in good positions. Scotland were rushing things and simple things were being made difficult. Johnston was guilty of a dreadful piece of decision-making when the ball fell to him in space at the back post. He had time and space to take a touch and control the ball, he blasted the ball high and wide of Knudsen's goal.
The Faroes were not lying down. They very nearly snatched a goal that would guarantee 3 points with 10 minutes left. Another example of desperate defending swapped the ball but when it brook out of a sea of legs the final shot went just wide. Thankfully Barry Ferguson was calm enough when he had a chance at the other end. He moved onto a through ball calmly controlled it with his chest and lobed Knudsen to equalise. It never looked like Scotland would score the all important 3rd goal. In fact it looked more likely that the home side would get the goal with firstly Flotum passing up a glorious chance and then Douglas foiling Elttor.
Thank goodness for Ferguson
I just cannot see that team making any impression on the group. Germany will top the group and we could well end up holding the rest up and ending bottom. I hope I am wrong and Berti makes the changes required.
Ger Harley (email@example.com)
Shane Knox (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Al McIntosh (Al@scottishfitba.net)
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