Euro 2020: Can Scotland Qualify From Group D?
May 18, 2021
With the postponed Euro 2020 competition due to kick off on 11 June, the clock is ticking for Scottish players to impress head coach Steve Clarke and win selection for the squad. UEFA has introduced a few new rules this time round to limit any negative effect Covid-19 may have on the tournament and so Clarke can now choose 26 players instead of 23, to afford him more choices in his team selection.
Scotland hasn’t qualified for the Euros since 1996 and in fact, the team hasn’t reached a major tournament since qualifying for the World Cup in France. Fans were kept on the edge of their seats until Scotland beat Serbia 5-4 on penalties in November last year to secure their place in the tournament and so end the drought of international competitions. The nation will be hopeful that the team can achieve a top 2 finish in Group D (or be one of the four best third-placed finishers from the six groups) to proceed to the round of 16.
The first match will take place on home turf, at Hampden Park in Glasgow, on 14 June when Scotland plays the Czech Republic. Four days later, Scotland play England at Wembley, then on 22 June, the final group match for Scotland is against Croatia, back in Glasgow. Although there will be an element of home advantage (enhanced by the long-awaited presence of fans) at the Glasgow fixtures, Scotland is undoubtedly the underdog in a very strong group. England are favourites to win the group with all bookies with best odds of 1/2 from bookmaker Spreadex, followed by Croatia with odds of 18/5 from SBK, and the Czech Republic at 14/1 from Betway. In contrast, SBK offers long odds of 35/2 that Scotland will win the group.
The Tartan army will not be too despondent if their team fails to win the group; progression to the final 16 is the most pressing objective. But there, too, Scotland are not fancied with best odds of 6/4 from Betvictor that they will go through while their nemesis, England, are runaway favourites with odds as short as 1/80 from Irish bookie Paddy Power.
Scottish football fans will celebrate the return of their national side to the elite level of global football. As one of 24 nations participating in Euro 2020, and with limited recent exposure to international tournaments of this calibre, Scotland may struggle to make it through to the final 16. Fans will nonetheless remain hopeful that the team can upset the apple cart and progress through the tournament, which concludes with the final on 11 July at Wembley.