Football: Scotland pin hopes on English victory

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The Independent Online
Scotland will seek inspiration from the past as well as pointers to the future when they face Switzerland in their final Group A fixture at Villa Park tonight, when only an overdue flurry of goals allied to an English victory at Wembley will extend their participation at Euro 96.

The Scots need to win 3-0 to fulfil their half of the equation. The last time they amassed as many against anyone other than San Marino and their ilk was four years ago at the Swedish finals.

Having failed to score in two otherwise commendable performances, just as Craig Brown's team have done, Andy Roxburgh's already-eliminated side thumped the CIS 3-0.

Brown refers to the result as an example of what could yet happen. "The mood is good," the Scotland manager said. "We want to finish well, not complaining about hard luck. A repeat of 1992 would be ideal. We know we've had it if the Dutch win, so for once we're hoping for an England win."

The Swiss are in a very similar position. The combination of results they require to reach the last eight is a 2-0 win and the Netherlands to beat England. Their coach, Artur Jorge, felt that far from two also- rans going through the motions, the game was replete with possibilities.

"We're going to make it a positive match with a lot of attackers," he promised. "I'm sure Scotland are thinking exactly like us. And I don't believe the top two will just play a friendly draw at Wembley. Everybody wants to win."

Brown, picking from a full-strength squad, will stick in the main with the players beaten by England. However, with an eye on the World Cup campaign which starts in Austria in August, he may bring in Eoin Jess, possibly to play off his former striking partner at Aberdeen, Scott Booth. Craig Burley could also come in at right wing-back in place of Stewart McKimmie.

Scotland have conspicuously failed to attack the box from midfield, a talent Jess has shown the potential to master with Coventry. Brown will not name his line-up until tonight, but the 25-year-old from the postcard- pretty fishing village of Portsoy was clearly relishing the chance to make a belated impact.

"We've hardly had a shot so far whereas other teams have been sticking them in from 25 yards, so that's something we've got to change," Jess said. "We always tend to do something daft in our last game. The CIS was a great example, but I also remember us beating the Dutch in Argentina back in '78."

Switzerland are set to replace the suspended Marco Grassi up front with Christophe Bonvin. Ramon Vega, their Spanish-born defender, has agreed a pounds 2.5m transfer from Grasshopper Zurich to the Italian club Cagliari, having reportedly rejected a move to Tottenham.

SCOTLAND (probable) (3-5-2): Goram (Rangers); Calderwood (Tottenham Hotspur), Hendry (Blackburn Rovers), Boyd (Celtic); Burley (Chelsea), McCall (Rangers), McAllister (Leeds United), Collins (Celtic), Durie (Rangers); Booth (Aberdeen), Jess (Coventry City).

SWITZERLAND (probable) (4-4-2): Pascolo (Servette); Hottiger (Everton), Vega (Grasshopper), Henchoz (Hamburg), Quentin (Sion); Jeanneret (Neuchatel Xamax), Sforza (Bayern Munich), Bonvin (Sion), Vogel (Grasshopper); Turkyilmaz (Grasshopper), Chapuisat (Borussia Dortmund).