Friday night internationals have taken over from the usual saturday games, im still not sure if im favour of playing internationals on a Friday evening. I think Scotland could have played until Saturday and still not scored a goal, their performance was so poor they made the Czechs look like world beaters. I arrived at the game an hour before kick off, the trams and metros on the way to the game were full of Scots singing and drinking, the locals looked bemused with what was going on. On entering the ground the Czech TV had set up a small set with cameras and the obligatory sportsdesk. Pavel Srnicek, the former Newcastle keeper was a guest on the show and was greeted with chants of “Theres only one Pavel Srnicek… !!”
Inside the ground, the Czechs had spotted a money making opportunity and hiked the prices up over 100%. The Scots didnt seem to mind, everyone was drinking non-alcoholic beer and eating 80kc Klobasa’s. The fans inside the ground were majority Scottish, I would say at least 65% were Scottish fans and despite all of their singing before the game they were quieter than I thought they would be during the game, perhaps the non-alcoholic beer and the sobering performance from their team left them feeling sheepish.
The pattern of the first half was similar to second half, the Czechs had the Scottish penned in their own half for the majority of the game, when the Scottish did get they ball they aimlessly hoofed it back to Petr Cech. Tomas Rosicky was ghosting past players at ease and perhaps tried to overplay at times, you can take the boy out of Arsenal… It was frustrating for the Czech fans as the first half somehow ended 0-0, the Czechs missing Milan Baros were struggling in front of goal, something the home fans are used at The Synot Tip Arena.
The second half was much better from the Czechs, by this time I was in full support of the Czechs, all of the anti English comments and songs on the way game had annoyed me. Everytime the Scottish defence shanked one out for a throw was greeted by loud cheer by myself, and shouts of “Cesky, Cesky, Cesky” were becoming louder from myself and my English friends! Our support was duly rewarded in the 70th minute when Hubnik headed home Bednars flick on, a goal which was fully deserved, it would have been a travesty if the game would have finished 0-0.
The negative tactics of Craig Levein’s side were a surprise to me, they were facing a very average Czech side, probably a slightly weaker side that lost at home 1-0 to Lithuania. The Czechs have a team in decline, they lost out in the last qualifying campaign to Slovakia and Slovenia. Scotland should have taken the game to the Czechs, playing a 4-6-0 formation was a brave and stupid decision, I always thought the best form of defence is attack? At least show some intent to attack? The Scottish fans must have felt cheated by their manager to play such negative tactics, they spend alot of money travelling to away games and they cant manage a shot on goal??
The Scottish support was magnificent over the last few days here in Prague, a Czech friend had said to me that it was like a circus, all of the crazy Scottish people singing, drinking and wearing kilts and wearing these crazy hats! If the Scottish team had played with the same passion and commitment their fans show, then Scotland would have a hell of a team. Unfortunately, they chose a 4-6-0 formation, up next for Scotland, Spain. Eeeek.