How Scotland can qualify for Euro 2020 knockout stages: the results needed by Steve Clarke's side to finish second or in third ahead of Croatia game

Switzerland’s 3-1 win over Turkey on Sunday has made Scotland’s hopes of qualification much tougher

Monday, 21st June 2021, 10:45 am

Scotland may have boosted the nation's hopes on Friday night with a great performance against England, but their chances of qualifying for the Euro 2020 knockout stages remain difficult.

The 0-0 draw at Wembley gave Steve Clarke’s men a foothold in the competition, but they remain bottom of Group D with just one point and no goals scored.

The picture has become clearer over the weekend as to how Scotland can reach the knockout stages for the first time ever, however, after Group A was finished and Group F completed their second round of games.

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Scotland can qualify for the knockout stages with a win over Croatia.
Scotland can qualify for the knockout stages with a win over Croatia.

First thing’s first, Scotland NEED to beat Croatia on Tuesday evening at Hampden Park. It will put the team on four points.

If Steve Clarke’s men were to win comfortably and the Czech Republic were to beat England, Scotland would finish as runners-up on goal difference.

The more likely scenario is by finishing third which brings the five other groups into the equation.

Scotland now face Croatia on Tuesday. (Photo by Facundo Arrizabalaga - Pool/Getty Images)

Scotland simply need to better the record of two other teams finishing in third place in their groups, with the four best-performing third-placed teams advancing to the next stage.

That was made more difficult on Sunday when Switzerland beat Turkey 3-1 to finish third in Group A behind Italy and Wales. It wasn’t the result Scotland were looking for, and leaves the Swiss on four points and a goal difference of -1.

It means Scotland are not assured of finishing above the Swiss in the table of teams in third with a win over Croatia. They will now have to beat their Group D opponents by two clear goals to place above Switzerland on goal difference.

Here is what fans should be looking out for in the other group finales:

Group B

Russia and Finland, who are both on three points, face Denmark and Belgium respectively.

All Scotland require is for one of Russia or Finland to lose. It would mean the third-place side finish on three points at most.

Group C

The most important fixture is Austria v Ukraine. Both sides currently sit on three points and a zero goal difference.

The sides could play out a draw knowing the likelihood is that both would progress. However, there is an element of risk for Austria.

Scotland want either side to win.

Group E

Both games – Slovakia v Spain and Poland v Sweden – could have a big impact on Scotland's hopes.

The ideal outcome is either wins for Slovakia and Sweden or a pair of draws.

Scotland could also progress if Spain win and Poland fail to win. It becomes awkward, however, if Spain win and Poland win by a goal.

Group F

France beating Portugal, who are currently on three points with a +1 goal difference, and Germany beating Hungary is the ideal scenario. A draw for Portugal and Germany win would mean Scotland will have had to defeat Croatia by four goals.

In the unlikely event Hungary defeat Germany it will then depend on the score between France and Portugal and the goal difference.

Conclusion – key games

Results Scotland want:

Belgium v Finland – Belgium win

Ukraine v Austria – Win for either side

Spain v Slovakia – Win for either side

Sweden v Poland – Sweden win or draw

France v Portugal – France win

Germany v Hungary – Draw or win for either side

The combination Scotland don’t want:

Russia v Denmark – Russia win

Belgium v Finland – Finland win

Ukraine v Austria – Draw

Spain v Slovakia – Spain win

Poland v Sweden – Poland win by a goal

Portugal v France – Draw

Germany v Hungary – Germany