Clarke says Scotland ‘have to move on quickly’ after nightmare Euros opener

Scotland suffered a 5-1 defeat to hosts Germany in the opening game of the finals.

Scotland coach Steve Clarke says his side need to move on quickly after a heavy defeat to Germany in their first match at the Euros.

The 5-1 loss in the opening game of the Euros was a painful experience for the team and the thousands of Scotland fans inside the Allianz Arena, as pre-tournament optimism was extinguished by a clinical German side.

The hosts flew out of the blocks and put Scotland under pressure from kick-off, taking the lead after just ten minutes.

Florian Wirtz opened the scoring before Jamal Musiala added a second nine minutes later.

Things went from bad to worse just before half-time. Ryan Porteous was sent off for a rash challenge on Ilkay Gundogan in the box and Kai Havertz netted the penalty to make it 3-0 at the break.

Substitute Niclas Fullkrug scored a fourth with 20 minutes left and Scotland pulled a goal back when Antonio Rudiger headed into his own net.

Emre Can completed the rout in the 93rd minute when he netted a fifth, ensuring the hosts would celebrate into the night and Scotland would begin analysing a painful night.

Clarke admitted his side didn’t perform to the levels required against top-class opposition and revealed that the team felt they had let themselves down in the showpiece game.

“It was a difficult night,” the Scotland head coach said. “Obviously we didn’t play to our standard and I thought the German team were excellent.

“We’re disappointed. We feel as though we’ve let ourselves down. We’re a better team than that and we have to show that in the next two games.

“This was always going to be a tough night for us to get something.”

Clarke felt that Porteous’ sending off was a turning point that meant the priority was to keep the scoreline down, rather than chase a positive result.

“The game ran away from us very quickly,” he said. “Conceding the third, with the sending off as well, that was always going to make it a difficult night.

“After that it was damage limitation. Second half, I thought the boys did everything they could They worked ever so hard to try and keep the scoreline reasonable.”

Scotland now turn their attention to Wednesday’s Group A clash with Switzerland, and the group game against Hungary that follows. Hopes of making history by reaching the knockout stages rest on winning at least one of those games, with four points probably required to have a chance of progress.

Clarke, who said he “never, ever” doubted his players, said that the team needs to look forward and aim to turn things around as soon as possible.

“We have to move on from this one and we have to move on quickly,” he said.

“We need four points from the next two games and that’s what we focus on.

Asked for a message for the Scotland support, he said: “Keep the faith. We’ll see you at the next game.”

Scotland captain Andy Robertson was frank in his appraisal of the team’s performance.

“First half, we just got it all wrong, really,” he said. “We didn’t show up. We weren’t aggressive enough and we let good players on the ball.

“They had a game plan, and we did too. Obviously theirs worked a million times better than ours.

“It was because we didn’t put it together on the pitch. We just didn’t do that first half.

“Second half, down to ten men, I thought the lads dug in really well. We lost a sloppy goal at the end but we could have drawn that second half.

“It’s no consolation, we know that. We’re well backed over here. We’ve got so many good supporters and it’s hugely disappointing.

“You’re playing against the host nation and it’s the first game. You don’t get much tougher than that.

“We have to bonce back quickly. There were a lot of things wrong about today and we have to sort it.

“It’s a quick turnaround now.

“We’ll take tomorrow to be disappointed and angry at ourselves and come Sunday we have to be positive and try and go again.”

Ready for UEFA Euro 2024? We are. Catch Scotland’s opener versus Germany plus other key matches on STV and STV Player.

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