Why Scotland might have to stomach a second dose of Euros heartbreak

<span>At least Scotland’s bus shouldn’t get stuck in traffic.</span><span>Photograph: Andrew Milligan/PA</span>
At least Scotland’s bus shouldn’t get stuck in traffic.Photograph: Andrew Milligan/PA


The most Scottish thing about it is that even though they’ve been eliminated from the tournament, things can still get even worse for Steve Clarke, his players and the Tartan Army. Spain beating Albania is far from unthinkable. Italy beating Croatia is far from unthinkable. Portugal beating Georgia is far from unthinkable. Denmark beating Serbia is far from unthinkable. Turkey beating the Czech Republic is far from unthinkable. And England thrashing Slovenia is – look, go with us on this one – far from unthinkable.

And if all those far from unthinkable things happen, Scotland will have to deal with the unimaginable torment of knowing that drawing with Hungary would have been enough to get them through to the Euro 2024 knockout stages with only two points. Of course the most implausible outcome in the scenario outlined above was always going to be Scotland drawing against Hungary, so it was no great surprise to see Kevin Csoboth wheeling away in celebration after firing home their winner in the ninth minute of time added on after the dreadful injury suffered by Hungary’s Barnabás Varga, who is reported to be OK and is expected to make a full recovery.

Of course it needs to be said that the only thing more Scottish than Scotland qualifying for the last 16 of a major football tournament with only two points, is Scotland somehow failing to secure that all important second point despite being deadlocked in their final group game with less than 60 seconds of the designated added time to play. But this is Scotland and that’s where they found themselves after conceding a late, late, late goal on the break. In doing so they officially became the first team to exit the tournament, and the 12th Scotland team to fail to make it out of the group stages of a big summer jamboree in a dozen attempts.

Needless to say, there were post-match tears and recriminations, with assorted Scots wailing and gnashing their teeth over a spot-kick they felt should have been given for what they saw as a clear Willi Orbán foul on Stuart Armstrong in the Hungary penalty area. Sadly, their pleas went unanswered as Argentinian referee Facundo Tello waved away protests, while his curtain-twitchers in the Uefa equivalent of Stockley Park elected not to stick their collective neb in. “It’s a penalty,” said an infuriated Clarke after the game. “I do not know for the life of me why that is not given.”

Upon being asked if he’d enquired of the referee why Scotland had not been given the spot-kick they felt they’d deserved, Clarke replied that he had not, in the strongest possible terms. “He’s from Argentina,” he snapped. “How would I ask him? He probably doesn’t speak the language. I don’t know. Why is he here? Why is it not a European referee?” While Clarke’s obvious frustration was understandable, Euro 2024 Daily can reveal that he could have asked Mr Tello for an explanation in Spanish, Portuguese or English and would have almost certainly got a response in any of the three different lingos. Having been a credit to themselves and their country as they soundtracked Munich, Cologne and Stuttgart with their pipes, drums and laughter, Scotland’s fans can now go home and focus on rowing in behind their Welsh and Irish brethren in their support of the mighty Slovenia.


Join Michael Butler at 8pm (BST) for Albania 1-2 Spain while Scott Murray will be all over Croatia 2-1 Italy at the same time.


There is no such thing as fear in football. No place for it, no reason for it either” – Alessandro Bastoni, the Chuck Norris of the Italy camp.


‘It was 100% a penalty’ Steve Clarke said, somehow forgetting to add ‘but only if you ignore Stuart Armstrong pulling the shirt of Willi Orban (which sounds like an insult against the Hungarian prime minister) beforehand’. It’s almost as though he wants to fuel a sense of injustice and detract away from Scotland’s first shot on target, in a game they needed to win, only occurring in the 97th minute” – Noble Francis.

Some highlights of Euro 2024 so far. 1) CR7 passed in front of the goal. 2) CR7 passed in front of the goal. 3) CR7 passed in front of the goal. 4) CR7 passed in front of the goal” – Krishna Moorthy.

Re: Antony Train’s splendid suggestion about geographical features on shirts (Friday’s letters). I’d also suggest including archaeological sites. That way Stonehenge could perfectly reflect whatever England formation put out: A rough arrangement of statuesque figures, defying all expert analysis, as no one can quite figure out how they got there or what their purpose was in the first place” – Justin Kavanagh.

I wonder whether any of your resident geniuses can inform me about the amazing ball repellent that infects the corner flag quadrant. No one ever places the ball in the quadrant any more … why? Is it for fear that it will be ejected, or explode releasing poison gas or party streamers. What? If I can get hold of some of the stuff, I’m hoping it is also a dog repellent so as to stop horrid owners letting their dogs poop on my front lawn, and walk away without cleaning up” – Richard Fernandez (this should help, Richard – Euro 2024 Daily Ed).

Send letters to Today’s prizeless letter o’ the day winner is … Justin Kavanagh. Terms and conditions for our competitions can be viewed here.


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