Scotland Aim to Make It Past the Group Stage for the First Time Ever

Euro 2024 is bound to be one of the most exciting editions of the European Championship. The stage is set in Germany, with 24 teams competing for the title. While participating countries like Spain and Italy have had successful spells at the Euros, others will hope to achieve their first taste of glory this summer, and one such team is Scotland.

Scotland Aim to Make It Past the Group Stage for the First Time Ever
Credits -

Featuring in major tournaments 13 times, Scotland has failed to make it out of the group stage in all attempts. They've made three trips to the European Championships, the first being in 1992, where they could only settle for the third spot behind Germany and the defending champions Netherlands. The Scots appeared in their second Euros in 1996 but finished third again behind the Netherlands and England. After two decades in the dark, Scotland finally returned to Europe's biggest stage in Euro 2020 but finished bottom last in Group D.

The joint-oldest national football team in the world will seek to put their past group stage woes behind them and get their first taste of the knockout rounds in Euro 2024. Expectations are through the roof this year, with head coach Steve Clarke joking that the hosts may not be ready for five million Scots this summer. As such, travelling spectators should expect a high demand for Scotland tickets at the Euros.

The Tartan Army goes into this tournament with a far better squad than in 2021. However, they find themselves in a fairly difficult situation in Group A, with hosts Germany, Switzerland, and Hungary also in contention to qualify. Here, we preview Scotland's Euro 2024 campaign, examining how they could line up in the group stage and their pathway to winning a championship.

Scotland's Journey to Euro 2024

Scotland's Journey to Euro 2024
Credits -

The European Qualifiers presented Steve Clarke's men with a tough challenge as they sought to make it to the Euros in back-to-back years. Scotland was placed in Group A alongside Spain, Norway, Georgia, and Cyprus. The Tartan Army was particularly impressive in Games 2 and 3, beating Spain and Norway, respectively. Their only loss was against Spain in the reverse fixture. Scotland scored 17 goals in 8 games and ended the Qualifiers as runners-up. If anything, their Qualifiers run was enough to put the world on notice and sound a warning to teams intending to write them off.

However, Scotland is currently experiencing a poor run of form, with recent results exposing their weaknesses on both ends of the pitch. They have failed to win a game in the last eight months, losing heavily to England, France, and the Netherlands. The Tartan Army will seek to get back to winning ways when they face Gibraltar and Finland before the Euros.

What to Expect from Scotland at the Euros

Steve Clarke will hope his team can replicate the same success on the big stage when they play in June as they find themselves in a tough group yet again. Scotland will begin their campaign hoping to upset the hosts at the Allianz Arena on June 14. While a win looks unlikely, the Tartan Army can spoil the party for the home side with a crucial draw. Securing a point on Matchday 1 will go a long way and could seal their advancement to the knockout rounds if they beat either Switzerland or Hungary.

Winning Group A is the best-case scenario, but a runner-up spot won't be considered a failure for the Scots. If they fail to clinch the runner-up spot, Scotland will look to at least finish with a good record in third position and earn a best-loser spot in the knockout rounds.

If they surprisingly advance as Group Winners, they could face one of the best third-placed teams in the knockout round. Finishing second will see them face Group B runner-ups, which could likely be Italy or Croatia, with a quarter-final fixture against neighbours England if they advance. A fairytale run to the semis means they could play Belgium or the Netherlands, with a potential final against Germany or Spain on July 14.

Scotland Squad Ahead of Euro 2024

Scotland Aim to Make It Past the Group Stage for the First Time Ever
Credits -

While the final squad for the Euros has yet to be announced, Steve Clarke has named his 28-man provisional squad, with two players set to miss out on the final squad list based on UEFA rules. The Tartan Army will be without wingbacks Aaron Hickey and Nathan Patterson, who have failed to recover in time for the tournament. Two players will be making their senior team debut in Germany, Liverpool's rising talent Ben Doak, and 26-year-old Ross McCrorie, who plays for Bristol City. James Forrest has been called back to join the national team after a three-year hiatus and is the only returnee on the roster. Forrest has been impressive for Celtic recently, with five goals in his last eight games, while Doak returns to full action after battling with a knee injury since December.

At the helm of affairs will be none other than Scott McTominay, who was on fire during the qualifying round. The Manchester United midfielder scored seven goals to finish fifth on the list of top goal scorers, only behind Harry Kane, Kylian Mbappé, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Romelu Lukaku. Two of his goals also came in the crucial win against Spain.

Clarke will also include Liverpool's starting left-back Andy Robertson in the lineup. The 30-year-old Champions League winner is considered one of the best wing-backs in the world and has been praised for his pace, vision, playmaking, and athleticism.

Other players that could make the starting lineup include goalkeeper Angus Gunn, a three-man defense of Jack Hendry, Kieran Tierney, Ryan Porteous, and right-back Anthony Ralston. Billy Gilmour is the first-choice pick to join McTominay in midfield, while Ryan Christie and John McGinn play high up the field with Lyndon Dykes as centre forward.

Check out the full list of Scotland's 28-man provisional squad for the European Championship:

Goalkeepers: Angus Gunn, Craig Gordon, Zander Clark, and Liam Kelly

Defenders: Andy Robertson, Grant Hanley, Ross McCrorie, Jack Hendry, John Souttar, Ryan Porteous, Anthony Ralston, Liam Cooper, Greg Taylor, Kieran Tierney, Scott McKenna

Midfielders: Scott McTominay, Billy Gilmour, Ryan Christie, John McGinn, Stuart Armstrong, Ryan Jack, Callum McGregor, and Kenny McLean.

Forwards: Lyndon Dykes, Ben Doak, Lawrence Shankland, James Forrest, and Che Adams


Cover Credits -

Leave a Reply