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Scotland’s record at major tournaments as Steve Clarke’s men seal Euro 2024 spot

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 16 Oct 2023

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Scotland’s Euro 2024 place was secured on Sunday night by Norway’s defeat to Spain as Steve Clarke’s side continue to impress.

Having also reached the Covid-delayed Euro 2020 finals, Clarke has re-established Scotland’s men’s team on the international stage and here, the PA news agency looks at their major tournament record.

Back in the big time

Clarke said after Spain’s win in Oslo on Sunday: “To qualify for successive Euros after more than 20 years is phenomenal.”

Scotland reached four out of five major tournaments from the 1990 to 1998 World Cups. That included the 1992 and 1996 European Championships – their only appearances in the Euro finals prior to 2020.

They had been present at six World Cups out of seven to that point including five in a row from 1974, the only exception being 1994.

They have since missed six World Cups in a row, and the first five Euros of the new century before Clarke oversaw their resurgence.

Alongside their Euro qualifications they have been promoted twice from League C in the inaugural 2018-19 Nations League to the top tier for 2024-25.

The trip to Germany for Euro 2024 will also allow the Tartan Army to travel to a tournament in numbers, after Euro 2020 was played under Covid restrictions with two of Scotland’s games taking place at Hampden Park and the other at Wembley.

Best record in prospect

Clarke’s side are set for their best ever record in a qualifying campaign, for either a European Championship or World Cup.

Before losing 2-0 to Spain last Thursday, they won their first five games – scoring 12 goals and conceding only one, an Erling Haaland penalty in the 2-1 win over Norway.

Top spot is still to be decided between Scotland and Spain but next month’s games against Georgia and Norway are, relatively speaking, dead rubbers with Scotland already qualified.

One win would make it six out of eight games, a 75 per cent rate that would be Scotland’s best in a qualifying campaign – beating their seven wins out of 10 en route to both Euro 96 and then France 98.

Should they win both, it will be only the fifth time they have won seven or more games in qualifying with all the previous examples coming in campaigns of at least 10 games. They narrowly missed out on Euro 2008, with eight wins from 12 including a double over France, and last year’s World Cup when they won seven of 11 before losing a play-off semi-final to Ukraine.

Chance to break new ground

Having qualified, the next target will be to make it out of a major tournament group stage for the first time.

Scotland’s three previous trips to Euro finals have brought just two wins and two draws from nine games, their best return coming in 1996 when they beat Switzerland and drew with the Netherlands, who then eliminated them on goals scored only thanks to Patrick Kluivert’s consolation in a 4-1 defeat to England.

They have only four wins in 23 games at World Cup finals and have never won more than once at a single major tournament.

The expansion of the final tournament to 24 teams, introduced in 2016, increases the chances of making it through the group, with all six winners and runners-up joined by four third-placed teams in the last 16.

Four points has been enough to get through at both of the 24-team tournaments to date, with Northern Ireland and Portugal in 2016 and Denmark and Ukraine last time out advancing with three. Scotland propped up Group D on one point at Euro 2020.

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