Connect with us

Miscellaneous

Scotland’s Realistic Euros Hopes

The European Championships start on Friday, June 14th when the hosts Germany play Scotland at the Allianz Arena in the tournament’s curtain raiser.

The last time the Tartan Army crammed into a stadium to watch their team in an opening game was 1998 when a Brazil team featuring the likes of Roberto Carlos, Rivaldo and Ronaldo ran out 2-1 winners thanks to a Tommy Boyd own goal.

Unfortunately the highlight of that tournament was a 1-1 draw against Norway in the second group game, with a 3-0 defeat to Morocco bookending a summer to forget for Craig Brown’s men.

Three years ago at the expanded European Championships is was a similar story for Steve Clarke and his team as they exited at the Group stage following losses to the Czech Republic and Croatia, sandwiched either side of an impressive 0-0 draw at Wembley to England.

This time round, what are the realistic hopes for Scotland in Germany? Would it be mad to put a sports bet on the team making it out of the group? Or even going one further and winning a knockout game? Read on to find out…

Scotland’s Group: Is Progression Probable?

That final word has been used purposely, because progression from the group is definitely possible but, according to the latest sporting odds, certainly isn’t probable. That’s because Steve Clarke’s men have to face hosts and perennial winners Germany, a resurgent Hungary side and a consistent, if not remarkable, Switzerland team.

Fortunately though, to qualify from their group Scotland will most likely only need 4 points as the 4 best third-placed teams will progress to the knockouts. That does mean however that progression hinges on winning one, drawing one and losing one by most probably, a single goal margin to protect goal difference.

Can that be done? Well let’s take a look at Scotland’s group opponents in greater detail before making our minds up on that just yet.

Germany

This is not the Germany side of tournaments gone by, but it is still a pretty strong one nonetheless. What makes the hosts stronger this year is perhaps the fact that they have the best manager of any team at the Euros – Julian Nagelsmann.

The former Bayern Munich boss is progressive, tactical astute and an absolute master of transitions – a hugely under-utilised aspect of international football. With players like Toni Kroos, Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz at his disposal the minimum expectations for Germany at this tournament are to top the group and reach the semi-finals.

(A look at the complex tactics of Julian Nagelsmann that could put Germany ahead of their rivals this summer.)

Switzerland

According to the bookmakers Switzerland are the team most likely to finish second in Group A behind Germany. Those odds do seem somewhat generous to us though. Since losing 6-1 to Portugal in the 2022 World Cup quarter-finals Switzerland have been in horrendous form.

Their only win in their last 7 qualifying games came against lowly Andorra which has rather unsurprisingly put manager Murat Yakin under severe pressure. They do have a number of quality players in their ranks though such as Manuel Akanji, Granit Xhaka and Breel Embolo.

Hungary

The third favourites in the betting odds are actually the team that we think are most likely to rival Germany for top spot.

Under the stewardship of Italian manager Marco Rossi Hungary put in a more than impressive showing at Euro 2020 in the ‘Group of Death’, hammered England 4-0 at Molineux in the Nations League and qualified for this tournament without losing a single game.

A solid defence and a rapid counter attack have been the hallmarks of Rossi’s Hungary in recent years and we think that could be enough to see them upset the odds and qualify in second place from Group A.

(This was fun wasn’t it?)

What then, of Scotland?

Qualification from this group comes down to being better than Switzerland. It really is that simple. If Steve Clarke’s men can beat the Swiss and score a couple of goals in the process all they need to do is gain 1 point from their 2 games against Germany and Hungary.

The Germany game might seem daunting for Scotland fans but there could be plenty of nerves in the Allianz Arena for that opener which gives Clarke’s men a chance. That chance, in our opinion, is either of grabbing a hard-fought draw or losing narrowly by the odd goal.

The more realistic chance of success will come against Hungary. If Scotland can stay defensively disciplined in that game and force Hungary to take the game to them, a point or three could very well be on the cards.

Achieve that and Scotland’s opponents in the Round of 16 will most likely be Spain, Belgium or Portugal in which case, we think that could be the end of the road for the Tartan Army. Or could it..? There’s nothing to stop us dreaming!

Features

Advertisement

More in Miscellaneous