Sunday, March 3, 2024

Spain 2-0 Scotland: What Were The Main Talking Points As The Tartan Army Miss Out On The Chance To Punch Their EURO 24 Ticket?

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, European Championships 13 Oct 2023

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In what was a major showdown at the top of the Group B table, Scotland missed out on the chance to book their ticket to EURO 24 as they suffered a 2-0 loss away at Spain.

With the Tartan Army rightfully left frustrated as they saw Scott McTominay’s second-half free-kick get disallowed for a hugely controversial foul on Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Unai Simon, La Roja then eventually ran rampant as Alvaro Morata opened the scoring with just 17 minutes left.

Taking a giant step towards clinching automatic qualification to next year’s European Championships, it was eventually second-half sub and debutant Oihan Sancet who wrapped up what should be a defining victory for Luis de la Fuente’s squad.

Although Scotland might have eventually missed out on the chance to lay down another famous marker against the former world champions, Steve Clarke’s men remain just 90 minutes away from officially finding a route out of Group B.

On a night when Spain took a giant step towards punching their spot for next year’s European Championships, we have taken a look at the main talking points from Thursday’s showdown.

Spain extend on their remarkable hometown qualifying romp

While Spain might have opened this year’s qualifying adventure in the midst of a struggle, Thursday’s hosts have certainly come roaring back in some style.

Getting their hands on a maiden Nations League crown back in June as they edged past World Cup semi-finalists Croatia, La Roja have won each of their previous five appearances across all competitions and they have hit top gear at a crucial time.

Taking a giant step towards punching their EURO 24 ticket, Spain have also gained a fearsome reputation for their stellar purple patch on home soil.

In fact, Thursday’s 2-0 victory now means that the European heavyweights have remarkably won each of their last 20 straight qualifying showdowns in front of their own supporters – a run that stems all the way back to June 2003.

With their sights still set on punching their ticket to Germany as Group B winners, Spain will be next seen on Sunday night when they travel to Oslo and meet Norway.

Scotland will rightfully feel frustrated

Landing a famous 2-0 victory when they welcomed Spain to Hampden back in March, Scotland certainly arrived on Thursday night believing that they could pull off another iconic upset.

However, left hugely frustrated as they saw McTominay’s second-half free-kick controversially ruled out by VAR, some in Clarke’s camp will be feeling that they missed out on a potential opportunity.

Nevertheless, while Scotland might have failed to punch their EURO 24 ticket here, they still find themselves sat firmly in pole position to clinch back-to-back spots on the major tournament stage.

Still putting 12 points on the board from their six Group A appearances and receiving a string of praise, the one-time Kilmarnock boss will be calling on his squad to dust themselves down quickly.

Despite not finishing off their qualifying job on Thursday night, Scotland will be handed a golden chance when they travel to Georgia on November 16th.

Morata extends on his recent romp

While many Spain fans might have been surprised earlier in the year as Morata was appointed La Roja’s new permanent captain, the one-time Chelsea misfit has only continued to shine since taking over his extra responsibilities.

Opening the scoring here and continuing to spearhead Spain’s charge throughout 2023, the Atletico Madrid ace certainly deserves all of the praise that he has received.

Now notching four EURO 24 qualifying strikes in as many appearances this year, Morata has only continued to cement his spot as La Roja’s new poster boy.

Flying out of the traps since opening up the 2023/24 campaign with Atletico, Morata has also now registered 12 goals in just his last 13 contests for both club and country.

Making a major statement last month as the 30-year-old bagged a hat-trick in Spain’s 7-1 romp away at Georgia, Morata certainly has a leading role to play out in Germany next year.

Match Report

Spain: Simon, Carvajal, Le Normand, Laporte, Balde, Gavi, Rodri, Merino, Torres, Morata, Oyarzabal

Subs: Sancet, Martinez, Joselu, Navas, Garcia

Scotland: Gunn, Hickey, Porteous, Hendry, McKenna, Robertson, Christie, McGregor, McTominay, McGinn, Dykes

Subs: Adams, Gilmour, Armstrong, Patterson, McLean

Goals: Morata (73’), Sancet (86’)

Yellow Cards: Spain: Simon, Carvajal, Laporte, Merino – Scotland: Dykes, Hendry, Patterson

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Serdar Gozubuyuk

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom has spent the past six years as one of our senior writers and betting experts. Alongside working with numerous publications from across the globe, Tom also graduated from the University of Falmouth in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media.
Spending almost the past decade working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he has also spent time featuring in sports radio. Tom can be followed on Instagram - @iamtomdunstan

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