Euro 2020: How Scotland can finish second, qualify for knockout stages in third and unlikely exit with win over Croatia

Ever since drawing 0-0 with England on Friday night, Scotland fans have been poring over the group tables.

Sunday, 20th June 2021, 12:57 pm
Updated Sunday, 20th June 2021, 1:19 pm
Scotland now face Croatia on Tuesday. (Photo by Facundo Arrizabalaga - Pool/Getty Images)
Scotland now face Croatia on Tuesday. (Photo by Facundo Arrizabalaga - Pool/Getty Images)

Following Spain’s draw with Poland, Hungary’s draw with France and Germany’s win over Portugal on Saturday, all teams have played two games.

The picture has become clearer as to how Scotland can reach the knockout stages for the first time ever.

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

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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 simply need to better the record of two other teams finishing third-place.

Here is what fans should be looking out for:

Group A

The big game is Switzerland v Turkey. A win for the latter would see the third-place team finish on three points. A draw would also suffice as it would see the Swiss finish on two points and Turkey one point.

Even if Switzerland win by one goal, Scotland would still advance with a victory.

If Switzerland were to throw off the shackles and win comfortably, Scotland would hope that Italy do similar against Wales or beat Croatia handsomely.

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:

Switzerland v Turkey – Draw or Turkey win

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:

Italy v Wales – Draw

Switzerland v Turkey – Swiss to win comfortably

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

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