Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Scotland Aim To Make History After Ending 23 Years Of Hurt

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Members of the Tartan Army have waited 23 long years, but finally, the wait is over. Scotland has qualified for Euro 2020, their first major international tournament since World Cup France 1998.

The multiple failed campaigns between 1998 and 2021 have been a source of bitter disappointment, anger and even embarrassment for followers of Scotland’s national football side. Many respected managers have tried and failed to get the team back into the VIP area, including Gordon Strachan, Walter Smith and Alex McLeish. But current boss Steve Clarke has the dark blues firing again.

Will they make up for their absence by making history and qualifying from the group stages for the first time? Bettors worldwide are placing their Euro 2020 bets at the best online sportsbook, and lovers of Scotland have allowed themselves to dream.

Can Scotland qualify to the knockout stages? Let’s take a closer look at their chances.

Home advantage provides a huge boost

The European Championships will be held this summer between 11 June and 11 July, postponed last year due to the coronavirus outbreak. Unlike previous renewals of this much-loved football tournament, there will be no host nation this year. Games will be spread out across 12 venues, with the final played at Wembley in London.

That benefits Scotland massively. By the luck of the draw, they play two of their three group matches at their home stadium, Hampden. The spare will be across the border in England. Home advantage for two of three games is a massive boost to the tartan army. Further good news is that government officials in Holyrood have paved the way for fans to attend with 12,000 tickets sold. The famous Hampden roar returns.

The attendance on match day will be much less than the capacity crowd Scotland are used to playing in front of, but it’ll be home supporters. Having been shut out of stadiums for over a year, forced to watch games on television, those in attendance will make sure they make themselves heard and encourage the players.

A battle with the Auld Enemy

Scotland was added to a Euro 2020 group with England, Croatia and the Czech Republic. It’s a round-robin format with Scotland playing each of the three other teams once. Not the easiest group in anyone’s opinion, but it’s certainly not mission impossible.

The team with the most points after three games qualify for the knockout stages of the competition as group winners. They are joined by the runners up. Winning the group is a big ask but grabbing the silver medal is achievable for Scotland.

The standout fixture of the group will be England vs Scotland at Wembley. The home team will be massive favourites to take three points, but if the Three Lions take the job lightly, looking beyond the game to the next round, they could be made to pay a hefty price by a determined visiting side. Scotland’s best will be required to get anything from the trip to London, but they have recorded some famous wins at Wembley in the past, and another isn’t beyond the current crop of players.

Years of preparation decided in just eight days

The fate of Scotland in the group stages will be decided by how they perform at home. Clarke’s hopefuls kick-off against the Czech Republic on Monday 14 June at 14:00 GMT before travelling to London four days later. They round things off by hosting Croatia on Tuesday 22 June from 20:00. Years of preparation will be decided in just eight days.

There is reason for Scotland fans to be confident, however. They have won their last three games against the Czech Republic and haven’t suffered defeat to that opponent since 2010. The most recent match produced a 1-0 home win for Clarke’s team. The stats ensure the home side enter without fear.

More good news for Scotland. They have never lost a competitive match against Croatia in five previous meetings. The head-to-head scores stand at two wins for Scotland and three draws. The teams last faced off in 2013 when Robert Snodgrass and Steven Naismith’s goals gave Scotland a 2-0 home victory.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

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