Talking points as Scotland stand on verge of history

·3-min read

Scotland take on Croatia in their final Euro 2020 Group D fixture on Tuesday night.

Steve Clarke’s men have one point from two matches following a defeat by the Czech Republic and a goalless draw against England.

Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the talking points ahead of the crucial final match at Hampden Park.

On the verge of history

Scotland have never qualified out of the group stage of a major finals, which includes eight World Cups and two European Championships, but victory will ensure they progress, at least as one of the four best third-placed teams. They could even leapfrog England into second if the Czechs win at Wembley and they overturn a three-goal deficit on their neighbours. If the Tartan Army are looking for an omen, Scotland won their previous two final Euro matches in 1992 and 1996 and have not lost to Croatia in five meetings.

Who will replace Billy Gilmour?

Billy Gilmour
Billy Gilmour in action against England (Nick Potts/PA)

The Chelsea midfielder was named star man by UEFA following his first international start but he was brought crashing back to earth by a positive Covid-19 test. John Fleck, who had his own positive test before the tournament, would be a direct replacement. The Sheffield United player is yet to feature in Euro 2020. Scott McTominay could return to midfield but he performed better in the back three at Wembley and could help Scotland push forward better than another centre-back, such as Jack Hendry. John McGinn could revert to a more defensive role, which he filled against the Czech Republic, with options for the more advanced midfield role including Stuart Armstrong, Ryan Christie and David Turnbull.

Where are the Scotland goals coming from?

John McGinn
John McGinn has 10 Scotland goals (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Scotland are the only team yet to score at Euro 2020. According to official tournament statistics, they have had 30 attempts on goal but only six have been on target while 18 have been blocked. Midfielder John McGinn has 10 international goals but no-one else in the squad comes close and, between them, strikers Lyndon Dykes, Che Adams and Kevin Nisbet have only five goals in 25 caps.

Are Croatia past their best?

Luka Modric
Luka Modric could not carve out a real chance against England (Martin Rickett/PA)

The 2018 World Cup finalists also go into the game with one point from a 1-1 draw against Czech Republic, before which they looked insipid in a 1-0 defeat against England. From the side which shone in Russia, midfielder Ivan Rakitic, forward Mario Mandzukic and goalkeeper Danijel Subasic have stepped away from the international scene. Croatia will lean on 35-year-old Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric more than ever but they still have quality in players such as Inter Milan winger Ivan Perisic, defender Sime Vrsaljko of Atletico Madrid, former Southampton and Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren and AC Milan attacker Ante Rebic.