City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Mixed Emotions as Scotland's Euro Hopes Die

By edg - Posted on 17 November 2007

So Scotland's Euro 2008 dream dies after going down 2-1 to world champions Italy in a rain-sodden Hampden.

It was a nail-biting climax to an exciting campaign. Scotland needed a win to be assured of qualification. It initially looked like it might end disastrously when Luca Toni flicked in an early goal in the second minute, but we came back bravely.

Scotland took the game to Italy, creating opportunities and winning free-kicks as they continued pushing forward. In the second half, when Barry Ferguson netted a rebound off the goalkeeper at close quarters - from what could have been an off-side position - it really looked like we were going to do it. But ultimately it wasn't to be.

"We didn't deserve to lose," said Scotland coach Alex McLeish immediately after the match. "They were reeling at the end, defending for their lives."

McLeish was clearly upset about the inexplicable decision by the official at the end of the game which led to a free-kick and Italian goal.
Hutton was barged off the ball near the Scottish corner flag by
Chiellini, but the free-kick was awarded to Italy. Panucci headed home Pirlo’s cross, and the final whistle followed seconds later.

It could have cost Scotland a place in the Euro finals... if the game had ended in a draw and France were to lose to Georgia on Wednesday...

As the disappointment subsides, we can console ourselves with the fact that Scotland have put pride back into the national game. When Scotland was drawn for the Euro qualifiers against not one, but both World Cup finalists, France and Italy, the going was always going to be tough.

Our boys rose to the challenge, with historic wins against France at home and in Paris, and against all expectations the tartan army found itself rallying for a win at home against the world champions for entrance to the Euro '08.

We can't be too down-hearted. The campaign road has not led to Europe, but Scotland is now back on the map.