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John Carver confident Scotland can progress to Euros knockout rounds

John Carver confident Scotland can progress to Euros knockout rounds
© Reuters
John Carver joined Steve Clarke's coaching team early last season.

Scotland have been getting better and better as the Euros approach and their improvement has been accelerated by the injection of fresh talent, according to assistant coach John Carver.

Carver joined Steve Clarke's coaching team early last season and saw Scotland grow in confidence ahead of their play-off success against Serbia in November.

Now he believes there is the talent for Scotland to break new barriers after qualifying for their first major tournament in 23 years, by reaching a knockout stage for the first time.

Speaking two days before their Hampden opener against Czech Republic, the former Newcastle coach said: "What we don't want to do is just arrive at the tournament and say, right, we are happy to be here.

"We want to take the next step. Because if we have a good tournament, that will put us in good stead for the next part of the World Cup.

"This group of players want to compete and progress. I know the manager has talked about, every time we play an international match, they gain experience, they will get better and stronger, and that's what I am seeing.

"Since I arrived in September, I think we've had five camps and the quality in the group has got better and better and the standards have got higher and higher.

"I'm expecting us to get out of the group. The guys are confident enough to do that and if we can achieve something that's never been achieved by a Scotland men's national team, that's what we're looking for."

David Turnbull
PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year David Turnbull is a squad newcomer (Jeff Holmes/PA)

Carver believes the pandemic-enforced delay to the Euro 2020 finals has helped Scotland and pointed to the emergence of three players who won their first caps in the warm-up games after benefiting from the expansion of squad numbers to 26 players.

"Just look at the three young guys who've come in – Billy Gilmour, Nathan Patterson and David Turnbull," he said. "They've added quality to the squad.

"When they were named everybody thought we were just bringing three young lads in for experience, but let me tell you, these guys have put pressure on some of the senior guys, so that period of time has certainly helped us."

Carver has been working on further building the confidence within the squad but feels other key elements needed for success are present in abundance.

"One of the main things for me is camaraderie and togetherness," he said.

"We know that these guys have got ability. They have got to believe in their ability and I keep telling them how good they are, because I have seen and I have worked at the top level of English Premier League football, with top players.

"And these guys have got to start believing that they are good enough to go to the next level. I am seeing it every time they go on the training ground.

"But the biggest thing for me is the togetherness. Everybody wants to be part of it, everybody wants to be here. Nobody wants to miss out.

"The guys who unfortunately missed out will be devastated but they are still supportive. I know they have been in touch with some of the guys, because they want to be part of it, and they have played a part, some of the guys who are not here. And we must not forget them."

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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States16171346
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia11151137
Great BritainGreat Britain891128
Today's Olympic highlights header

Sunday's key events

· The men's golf reaches its conclusion, with plenty of players still in medal contention. Home favourite Hideki Matsuyama is one shot off Xander Schauffele's lead, while Great Britain's Paul Casey is another shot further back and Tommy Fleetwood is also in the mix (11.30pm-8am)

· Great Britain have already made history in the BMX events in Tokyo, something Charlotte Worthington and Declan Brooks will be looking to add to in the women's (2.10am) and men's (3.10am) freestyle finals

· The final day of swimming action begins with the men's 50m freestyle final. Ben Proud could add to a medal-laden Games in the pool for Team GB so far, although he is up against USA's Caeleb Dressel, who is going for his fourth gold in Tokyo (2.30am)
· From sprint to endurance, Great Britain's second medal hope of the day comes through Daniel Jervis in the men's 1500m freestyle final (2.44am)
· Team GB will again be among the heavy favourites for gold in the last swimming event of the Games - the men's 4x100m medley relay final - having won the mixed event in a world record time on Saturday (3.36am)

· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Pat McCormack takes part in the men's welterweight semi-final against Ireland's Aidan Walsh with a spot in the gold medal final at stake (4.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also in the semi-finals of the men's light heavyweight and will be looking to continue Team GB's success in the ring (4.51am)

· There will be a surprise on the top of the men's tennis podium after Novak Djokovic missed out on a medal altogether. Alexander Zverev takes on Karen Khachanov in the second match on Centre Court at the Ariake Tennis Park (7am-2pm)

· Alison Young will be going for gold in the women's laser radial medal race (7.33am)

· Team GB's Max Whitlock will look to defend his 2016 Olympic title in the men's pommel horse final (10.41am)

· The men's high jump final includes GB's Tom Gale, although his chances of a medal look bleak (11.10am)
· So often the blue-riband event of the Olympics, the men's 100m final takes place as the world's fastest bid to be crowned Usain Bolt's successor. Three Brits have made it into the semi-finals (11.15am-11.32am), and the final looks wide open after an underwhelming display by favourite Trayvon Bromell on Saturday (1.50pm)

· Great Britain face India in the men's quarter-final (1pm)

> Today's schedule in full
Todays Game Header Right
Olympic Games Men's Football
Scottish Premiership
Pre-Season Friendlies
Portuguese Super Cup
Taca da Liga
Scottish Championship
Scottish League One
Scottish League Two
Belgian Pro League
Swiss Super League
Russian Premier League
Ukrainian Premier League
Swedish Allsvenskan
Danish Superliga
Finnish Veikkausliiga
League of Ireland Premier
Belarusian Premier League
Ligue 2
Major League Soccer
Copa Diego Maradona
Uruguayan Primera Division
Liga MX
Chinese Super League

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