UNITED STATES manager Jurgen Klinsmann delivered a ringing endorsement of Scotland’s Euro 2016 credentials after Gordon Strachan’s side continued their revival in last night’s goalless friendly between the two nations.
The Scots have been in a rich vein of form since winning in Croatia in June, and Klinsmann, a World Cup winner with West Germany in 1990, is in no doubt that they are heading in the right direction after they more than matched his side, who are ranked 13th in the world and are heading to Brazil for next summer’s World Cup.
Last night’s competitive encounter was a far cry from May 2012 when Craig Levein’s Scots crashed to a humiliating 5-1 defeat at the hands of the Americans in Jacksonville, and the improvement in the hosts’ display wasn’t lost on Klinsmann.
“You can clearly see the Scottish side is on its way up,” said the German. “They confirmed what we have seen already in the last couple of months. They are a team that can hurt you at any moment. They have good players, good individuals and have a certain presence on the field. They were ready for the fight and I think overall a draw was a fair result.
“There’s no comparison between that team and the one that lost 5-1, but we already knew that. We don’t even need to talk about that game. It’s a different side. They are compact and focused. They have got the message. They have a point to prove; you could sense from the beginning of the match that they are a team building towards Euro 2016. They were not holding back.”
Strachan, who handed first international starts to Brighton pair Gordon Greer and Craig Conway, was content with his side’s display, but admitted they will need to show more quality in the final third if they are to find a way of beating the leading nations.
“It reaffirmed one or two things, the good and the negative, so that was handy,” said the Scotland manager. “It cleared the mind and I thought, yep, we have that now. It was a worthwhile exercise. It was not a great game, that is for sure. Two teams who knew how to stop each other playing.
“I think if we are to beat teams of that physical size we have to be good at passing near the edge of the box, 30 yards out. If we get that we will beat teams. It was like a basketball game tonight, everyone playing the same position, one v one. We had some good wins in head to heads.”