Strachan remaining upbeat after Scotland football friendly defeat


Metz (France) (AFP) – Scotland manager Gordon Strachan believes the chastening 3-0 friendly defeat to Euro 2016 hosts France on Saturday can prove to be a positive experience for his side.

Having missed out on a place at the European Championship finals, Scotland’s taste of the French summer began and ended in the rain in Metz, where they were well beaten by the tournament hosts.

A brace by Olivier Giroud and a Laurent Koscielny goal, all in the first half, separated the sides and Scotland were lucky not to lose by a far greater margin.

The loss, in which the away side offered next to nothing in attack, followed a meek 1-0 defeat to Italy in Malta last weekend.

However, Strachan was happy to see his side test themselves against top-level opponents before the start of World Cup qualifying in the autumn.

“It was hard for these guys against real world class players, and for us to get anything, make any progress, we have to be at our best and at times that didn’t happen,” Strachan said after the game at the Stade Saint-Symphorien.

“If there’s a better team than them then we’re in for a fantastic Euros,” he added of a slick French outfit.

The back-to-back defeats to end the season followed wins against both the Czech Republic and Denmark in March, and the 59-year-old Strachan is now looking towards the campaign to get to Russia in 2018.

“We have had four friendly games and we said we would experiment.

“We have experimented and we take a lot of information from that, which is great, and we will debrief and see what is the best way to go forward,” said Strachan, whose side are the only nation from the British Isles who will not be at Euro 2016. 

“Looking back, I do believe, from our performances in qualifying, we know fine we are better than some of the teams that are in it.

“We have chosen to play some of the best teams in the world to find out what we can do.

“Sometimes we’ve got to take a hard lesson, which we have but the guys kept plugging away. 

“We know we can play football, score goals, and play attractive football and we will now try to improve with the information we have got.”

Scotland begin their World Cup qualifying campaign away to Malta in September and will also face Lithuania, Slovakia and old enemy England before the end of the year.

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