Connect with us

Sports

Why Scotland go to Euro 2024 with genuine hopes of getting beyond group stage

Published

on

QUALIFYING for back-to-back Euros is an achievement in itself and the Tartan Army are sure to make the most of it.

The 2-0 win over Spain and the 15 other goals scored en route to Germany are decent reasons to believe Steve Clarke’s team can make an impact.

22

Scotland players line up ahead of their 2-0 victory over GibraltarCredit: Getty

22

But a run of seven games without a win, including a friendly defeat by Northern Ireland in March, suggests they should travel more in hope than expectation.

But if experienced players like captain Andy Robertson and goal machine Scott McTominay are fit and in form, the knockout stage is not beyond the Scots.

Manager: Steve Clarke

Only Jock Stein, Andy Roxburgh and Craig Brown have managed Scotland in more games.

Steve Clarke has led Scotland to their first European championships since 1996 in 2020

22

Steve Clarke has led Scotland to their first European championships since 1996 in 2020Credit: Kenny Ramsay

Key player: John McGinn

The Aston Villa captain has reached new levels under the coaching of Unai Emery and is crucial to a midfield that provides most of Scotland’s goals.

Likely line-up

22

How they attack

We are likely to see Scotland line up in a 5-4-1 system with the Southampton striker Che Adams leading the attacking line.

While Adams will run and work hard he is more used to making runs to drag defenders out of shape.

It relies on players from the narrow three-man midfield and the attacking midfielder making runs behind him to stretch and open up the opposition.

McTominay and McGinn regularly make extremely long runs to get into the final third and they are often responsible for getting the goals.

McGinn, McTominay and Hickey race forward to support Adams in attack and in this case it was McGinn who scored

22

McGinn, McTominay and Hickey race forward to support Adams in attack and in this case it was McGinn who scored
John McGinn scores against Cyprus in qualifying

22

John McGinn scores against Cyprus in qualifyingCredit: Kenny Ramsay

Scotland will typically look to build into wide areas with the full-backs and central midfielders working together.

The players on the flanks then look to get the ball into the area or into central spaces around the edge of the opposition penalty area.

Inside the ten stunning Euro 2024 stadiums including historic final venue
This time the goalscorer is the Norwich midfielder Kenny McLean who makes a long run to support the Scottish attack from deep

22

This time the goalscorer is the Norwich midfielder Kenny McLean who makes a long run to support the Scottish attack from deep
Scotland’s Kenny McLean celebrates scoring vs Norway with John McGinn

22

Scotland’s Kenny McLean celebrates scoring vs Norway with John McGinnCredit: Reuters

In qualifying against Norway, Norwich’s Kenny McLean arrived in the box to score.

Once again McGinn was involved and the initial cross came from McTominay on the right-side.

As Scotland will typically be passive against the ball as they sit in a deeper defensive block, they will attack through quick forward passes when they get the opportunity to win the ball back.

Striker Adams is important in terms of making runs to get on the end of these passes and to allow their team to move forward to support the attack.

The forward line will be affected by the absence of Lyndon Dykes, who was ruled out of Euro 2024 after being carried off on a stretcher in training.

Clarke has brought in 18-year-old Ben Doak to replace the injured Queens Park Rangers forward.

PLAY DREAM TEAM EUROS NOW!

The best fantasy football game for this summer’s tournament.

Hickey often regains possession deep then quickly drives forward and looks to pass into space to release the striker making an off the ball run

22

Hickey often regains possession deep then quickly drives forward and looks to pass into space to release the striker making an off the ball run

How they defend

Scotland sit deep in a 5-4-1 block.

Clarke’s defensive goal is to stop the opposition from being able to play centrally in their defensive third.

They will usually work extremely hard in order to deny any spaces between the lines as they try to force the opposition wide.

Scotland have a line of five defenders across the back, and then the other five outfield players are also behind the ball

22

Scotland have a line of five defenders across the back, and then the other five outfield players are also behind the ball

When they are defending, all of their players are behind the ball and positioned in their defensive third as they look to force the opposition wide.

The midfielders for Scotland will have a key role and they are typically very narrow in their positioning.

They will work to shift across from side to side in order to stop the opposition from being able to break the line with a pass.

Scotland are often narrow as they defend the centre of the pitch and look to force the opposition to play wide as they attack

22

Scotland are often narrow as they defend the centre of the pitch and look to force the opposition to play wide as they attack

By forcing the opposition outside as they look to attack, Scotland are effectively saying that they are comfortably defending the area from crosses.

They will also, however, look to quickly shift out when the ball goes wide to press the space and deny the opposition wide players any space.

As the ball goes wide the fullback and ball side central midfielder will work to close down and look to pin the ball carrier wide

22

As the ball goes wide the fullback and ball side central midfielder will work to close down and look to pin the ball carrier wide

Prediction

Scotland were drawn into a hard group with hosts Germany, disciplined Hungary and Switzerland.

Finish as runners up in Group A, and they will face the second place team in Group B, meaning it could be anyone of Spain, Italy or Croatia.

Win that last 16 game and they are presented with the possibility of a mouthwatering knockout clash against either England, Belgium or the Netherlands.

There is also the prospect of Scotland going through as one of the best third-place teams.

But that could present any number of scenarios.

The only guarantee here is that the Tartan Army would then meet a group winner in the round of 16. 

Latest odds

Scotland are 100/1 to lift the trophy come July 14.

Glam fans and Wags

The players have got some dedicated support as they make their bid to qualify from Group A.

Clarke has encouraged the players’ wives and girlfriends to accompany them on major tournaments.

Kenny McLean is expecting his first child with stunning girlfriend Robyn Keen

22

Kenny McLean is expecting his first child with stunning girlfriend Robyn Keen
She is a model with over 38k followers on Instagram

22

She is a model with over 38k followers on InstagramCredit: instagram/Robyn Emma Keen
The model has been labelled the 'most beautiful British woman'

22

The model has been labelled the ‘most beautiful British woman’
Cam Reading is the girlfriend of Scotland midfielder Scott McTominay

22

Cam Reading is the girlfriend of Scotland midfielder Scott McTominayCredit: Instagram @scottmctominay
Reading boasts an enviable lifestyle which includes travelling and shopping

22

Reading boasts an enviable lifestyle which includes travelling and shoppingCredit: Instagram @camreading
The blonde bombshell supports McTominay at Manchester United award shows

22

The blonde bombshell supports McTominay at Manchester United award showsCredit: Instagram @camreading
Captain Andy Robertson is married to long-term love Rachel

22

Captain Andy Robertson is married to long-term love Rachel
John McGinn married Sara Stokes last year

22

John McGinn married Sara Stokes last yearCredit: instagram/John McGinn
Che Adams with girlfriend Amelia Kate

22

Che Adams with girlfriend Amelia KateCredit: Instagram @cheadams_
Ryan Christie and girlfriend Georgie Bell

22

Ryan Christie and girlfriend Georgie Bell
Continue Reading