England Greatest XI v Scotland Greatest XI: We select our sides - and predict who would win
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It’s a game littered with history, dating back to when the two countries first met back in 1872.
Since then, we’ve had numerous famous clashes from Scotland’s Wembley Wizards running amok to a 9-3 revenge win for the Three Lions – and not forgetting the Gazza goal in 1996.
We decided to trawl back through the history books and try to compile our greatest XIs from both nations – and predict how a clash between the two sides might end.
We’re restricted by time and memories – anyone going much further back than the 1960s won’t recall many of the star men – and just be aware, it’s only a bit of fun. Feel free to agree or disagree with our teams (we’re fairly confident there will be plenty disagreements – feel free to leave your team in the comments section below)!
We’ve gone for 4-4-2 formations for both teams because, well, it’s what were were all brought up on. None of this false nins and overlapping centre-halves malarkey. Old school. So settle back, and enjoy the debate.
England Greatest XI (manager Alf Ramsey)
Gordon Banks: Possibly the easiest choice of all. The World Cup winner won 73 caps, becoming a legendary figure not only for his 1966 heroics but also THAT save from Pele in 1970.
George Cohen: Another from the 1966 World Cup-winning team. England’s current crop of right-backs are among the best in the world but Cohen has done it on the biggest stage of all.
Bobby Moore: You couldn’t leave out this Rolls Royce of a defender. The man who lifted the Jules Rimet Trophy wouldn’t look out of place in today’s game. Captain.
John Terry: Edges out Rio Ferdinand, who is too similar a player to Moore. Terry had it all – great in the air, deceptively quick and could read the game well. Goal threat from set-pieces too.
Ashley Cole: Capped 103 times, for over a decade he was arguably the best in his position in the world. Astonishing pace and defensive resolve, his performance against Cristiano Ronaldo in Euro 2004 was a masterclass. Left-sided relationship with Terry is as good as it comes.
Sir Stanley Matthews: The only player from pre-66 to appear in the England team, his trickery and footwork reinvented wing play.
Bryan Robson: Captain Marvel carried England at times during the 1980s. Criminally underrated still at times, his box to box style has gone out of fashion in the modern midfield but he could do it all.
Paul Gascoigne: Probably the most talented England player of the last 50 years, and delivered at two international tournaments – criminally, the only two he played at. A genius on his day.
Bobby Charlton: The greatest England player ever? It’s hard to argue against that. Two-footed, powerful, he could play anywhere across the midfield or even up front. Slightly left sided in this formation but would interchange with Gazza.
Gary Lineker: Unfortunate not to finish his career as England’s record goalscorer, he was a penalty box predator who won the Golden Boot in 1986 and four years later fired England to the World Cup semi-finals.
Alan Shearer: The toughest choice of all was who should partner Lineker in attack. Shearer gets the nod ahead of Wayne Rooney and Jimmy Greaves due to his ability to lead the line and score goals. England’s greatest forward of the last 30 years.
Scotland’s Greatest XI (manager Jock Stein)
Jim Leighton: Got the nod (just) ahead of Andy Goram and Ronnie Simpson. Longevity, experience, four World Cups, a European title with Aberdeen and a fall-out with Sir Alex Ferguson. There’s not much Jim didn’t see in his career which saw him win 91 caps.
Danny McGrain: The Celtic great was a shoe-in at right-back, where for a spell in the 1970s he was rated as one of the best in the world. Played at the 1974 World Cup and in 1982 where he was captain, but missed 1978 through injury. Played more than 700 times for Celtic and won 62 caps. Sensational beard.
Billy McNeil: Another Celtic legend, the man who became the first British captain to lift the European Cup. A dominant centre-half and no more fitting a skipper of this Scotland squad.
Alan Hansen: Edges out Aberdeen duo Alex McLeish and Willie Miller. Didn’t win the amount of caps his talent deserved and controversially snubbed by Ferguson for the 1986 World Cup, his style of defending complements McNeil and wouldn’t look out of place in the modern game.
Andy Robertson: The only player from both current squads to make either team. One of the best left-backs in world football.
Jimmy Johnstone: One of the Lisbon Lions and a famed right-winger, ‘Jinky’ finished third in the Ballon d’Or in 1967 such was him impact on the world stage. Only won 23 caps but was voted Celtic’s greatest player in 2002.
Graeme Souness: Another complete midfield player, capable of controlling the centre of the park with a personality that bristled as much as his magnificent moustache. A feared tackler, capable of scoring great goals, he’s probably the greatest midfielder Scotland have produced.
Billy Bremner: The Leeds United great gets the nod ahead of John Collins in the centre of the park. Only 5ft 5in, he belied his small stature with a huge presence on the pitchand captained Scotland at the 1974 World Cup.
Jim Baxter: Mercurial but supremely talented. Scored twice in a 2-1 win over England in 1963 and then inspired them to a 3-2 win over the then world champions in 1967, when his ball juggling mid-game became stuff of legend.
Denis Law: The great poacher jointly holds the record for Scotland goals with 30. A penalty box predator nicknamed The King by Manchester United fans, he won the Ballon D’Or in 1965.
Kenny Dalglish: Probably the greatest Scottish player of all time, someone capable of brilliant goals but also leading the line and providing assists. Record cap holder, joint record goalscorer, a true legend of the game.
Two evenly-matched sides go at each other from the off. Gascoigne is brutally taken out inside eight minutes by a combination of Souness and Bremner, and spends the rest of the first half limping around the pitch on the periphery.
Scotland take the lead on 27 minutes when Baxter beats two men before sliding the ball through to Roberston on the overlap and his cross hung up to the far post is met by the head of Law.
England come roaring back after the break and Bobby Charlton sees a 30-yard piledriver cannon back off the crossbar before a route one goal sees Shearer outmuscle Hansen to flick on for Robson making a late run to get on the end of it and flick the ball over the onrushing Leighton.
England are well on top and Gazza, with a second wind, nutmegs Souness before sliding the ball through to Lineker who rounds the goalkeeper to score with 14 minutes remaining.
Jock Stein responds with a double substitution, bringing on Alex James and Hughier Galacher, and with three minutes left the pair combined with a swift one-two that left Terry floundering before Gallacher unleashed an explosive shot which found the top corner of the net.
Final score: 2-2
What do you think of the teams? Who would win this clash of the greatests? Join the debate below