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Steve Clarke and Andy Robertson react to Scotland’s elimination at Euro 2020 after Croatia defeat


Scotland were eliminated from Euro 2020 following a 3-1 defeat to Croatia (Picture: Getty)

Scotland head coach Steve Clarke said he was ‘proud’ of his players but hoped they managed to ‘learn some lessons’ for the future after being eliminated at the Euro 2020 group stage with a 3-1 defeat to Croatia.

Nikola Vlasic’s arrowed finish silenced the Hampden Park crowd as Croatia took the lead in the 17th minute, with both teams aware that victory would guarantee progression into the last 16.

Callum McGregor sent the Tartan Army into raptures with a driven equaliser just before half-time but Clarke’s men struggled to regain their momentum in the second period and fell behind to an exquisite outside-of-the-boot strike from Luka Modric on the hour-mark.

Ivan Perisic extended the visitors’ advantage in the 77th minute and Scotland had no answer as their first major tournament in 23 years was brought to an end.

Modric scored a wondergoal and ran the show for Croatia (Picture: Getty)

The result ensured Croatia go through to the round of 16 as Group D runners-up behind England, who beat the Czech Republic in Monday night’s other game.

‘I’m proud of the players getting here for the first time in 23 years. That was a big thing for the country, a big thing for this group of players,’ Scotland manager Clarke told ITV Sport.

‘I think you saw tonight a team that was tournament-hardened in Croatia against a team that’s in their first tournament for a long time.

‘Hopefully we can learn some lessons and we don’t have to wait as long for the next tournament.’

Clarke and Robertson said they were ‘proud’ of the squad (Picture: Getty)

Clarke added: ‘I think we’ll go away and learn from it for sure. Obviously starting on the back foot, losing the first game, is something we need to address for the next one because that set us up for a difficult one.

‘We left everything on the pitch at Wembley against England and couldn’t quit get it tonight.

‘We had a little spell just before half-time where we got the goal but, listen, Croatia are a top team and they showed that tonight.’

Croatia go through as runners-up behind England in Group D (Picture: Getty)

Scotland captain Andy Robertson said it had been an ‘absolute honour’ to captain his nation at the European Championships and singled out Croatia veteran Modric for special praise.

‘In the second half they showed their experience. We had a couple of chances but we didn’t put them under too much pressure and obviously they’ve got quality players,’ the left-back said.

‘Modric just ran the game kind of, scored a wonderful goal and unfortunately that’s why we fall short.

‘But I’m so proud of all these players, I’m so proud to be captain of these players, this country.

‘Over the last couple of weeks it’s been an absolute honour. I felt the love from the whole country and I hope that continues.

‘I know we’ve disappointed them and I know we’ve fallen short but the love we’ve felt from the nation has been special and hopefully that can continue.’

McGregor gave Scotland a glimmer of hope with his equaliser just before half-time (Picture: Getty)

Robertson added: ‘We’re one of the newbies to this. It’s been 23 years, it’s been a long time coming and all of us will gain experience from it.

‘Even the older boys, me, that’s had a lot of experience, David Marshall, people like that… we’ve all learned from this. The manager, the coaches and the young lads.

‘We’re a squad that still has a lot of potential, still relatively new to this, not a lot of caps between us and it’s important that we build on this.’

The Liverpool full-back quickly turned his attentions to Scotland’s World Cup qualifying, which kicks off against Denmark on September 1.

‘It’s important that we don’t take this as a high as a squad because we’re a good team on our day and we now need to focus on September,’ Robertson went on.

‘I know that’s a long way away. We need to go away on holiday and finally rest but come September we need to try and qualify for another tournament because it can’t go another 23 years. We want to be a team that qualify for many tournaments and it becomes the norm.

‘That’s in our hands, in our destiny but we’ll think about that another day.’


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