Hampden clash highlights how times have changed

LONDON - If there were any doubts how much football has changed in the 50 years since Real Madrid scored seven goals to win the European Cup final at Hampden Park, they could be answered when Spain play Scotland there on Tuesday.

The match, one of 22 Euro 2012 qualifiers being played, is likely to bear little relation to Real's 7-3 win over Eintracht Frankfurt in 1960 which is regarded as one of the greatest exhibitions of attacking football.

In total contrast, when Scotland play the world and European champions in their Group I qualifier, coach Craig Levein could try and beat them playing a 4-6-0 formation without any recognised strikers or forwards. Real had five in 1960.

Levein used his forward-less formation in Friday's qualifier against the Czech Republic in Prague where Scotland were beaten 1-0.

His assistant Peter Houston defended the tactic as a "great strategy" which could be used again in the future.

The formation has been widely criticised by the Scottish media, but Houston told reporters: "You have a duty to try and get something points-wise for the country. I agreed with Craig, I felt it was the right way to go about it, to hit them on the counter-attack.

"I thought it was a great strategy to come up with. I thought we could counter-attack against them. I think Scotland as a nation are better at counter-attacking."

Asked if Levein would use the same tactic in the future, Houston replied: "If it is the right thing to do.

"It doesn't mean that we go into the game against Spain with the same formation. Every game has a different outlook. Spain have different players from the Czech Republic, we will look forward to it."

Spain are unlikely to adopt such a policy any time in the foreseeable future because, even without the injured Fernando Torres, they have plenty of attacking options as they seek to preserve their 100 percent start to the qualifiers.


Spain are one of eight teams who have taken maximum points from their opening matches and will hope to maintain that record on the last full night of qualifiers before the winter break.

Two of them are in Group A where Germany have won their opening three matches and Austria two.

Belgium, who got their first points with a win over Kazakhstan on Friday entertain Austria in Brussels while Germany travel to Kazakhstan.

The Netherlands and Sweden, the top two teams in Group E who both have perfect records, meet in Amsterdam, a similar scenario to Group G where England and Montenegro clash at Wembley Stadium.

Norway, who have won their opening three games in Group H are not in action, but will retain top spot because none of their rivals who are playing can catch them.

Spain, who moved to the top of Group I when they beat Lithuania 3-1 on Friday, could extend their lead if they win on their first visit to Glasgow since 1984.