Build-up as Scotland count down to blockbuster Hungary clash

Steve Clarke's side take on Hungary in Stuttgart on Sunday with a place in the last 16 at stake.

Key Points
  • Steve Clarke: “We know we have to win to progress”
  • Scotland could qualify for the knockout stages with victory over Hungary on Sunday
  • John McGinn: “Hopefully one of us will be a hero tomorrow night”
  • Kieran Tierney ruled out of Euro 2024 after hamstring injury
  • Scotland Supporters’ Club issue UEFA advice
  • Fan zones in Stuttgart closed temporarily due to ‘severe weather’
  • Hungary manager Marco Rossi: My side is in the “same boat as Scotland”

Scotland’s Euro 2024 campaign has been a mixed bag so far – but it will now all come down to Sunday evening’s crucial clash with Hungary.

The Tartan Army now march onto Stuttgart for the final group game, and if Scotland – who have never qualified for the knockout stages of a major tournament – manage to defeat Hungary, they would almost certainly qualify for the last 16.

Ahead of tomorrow’s showdown, we’ll bring you live updates and all the build up, team news, and match insights.

Steve Clarke’s men currently sit third in Group A having taken just one point from their first two matches against Germany and Switzerland.

He addressed the media in Stuttgart on Saturday, and said that he is “hopeful” that his side have learned lessons from being in this position in the past.

He said: “We feel good. We thought it might come down to needing to get something out of the last game in the group.

“We’ve been in this position before but hopefully we can show that we’ve learned a few lessons.

“We had a really good training session this morning and when they cross the white line they have to put that into practice and hopefully you see the results at the end.

“The whole tournament is a sense of occasion. For Scotland, the first major overseas tournament since 1998. I was still playing then, that was a long time ago.

“You can see how much the supporters out here are enjoying themselves. I am sure the five million at home are also engrossed in the tournament. It’s not just about this game, it’s about all the games.

“We know we have to win the game to progress to the next round and that’s what we’ll try to do.”

Scotland midfielder John McGinn has said “progression would mean everything” and said he is hopeful someone is the “hero”.

Addressing the media on Saturday, he said: “I’d take Big Gunny being the hero. Hopefully one of us will be a hero tomorrow night.

“Don’t really care if it’s an own goal, deflection or anything. We will take anything as it comes.

“I still think a lot of us still have a lot to give, especially me personally. I’ve not been involved offensively as much as I would hope.

“The opening game collectively, but personally it was one to forget and the second one was all about grit, determination, run, all that was missing in the first game.

“We’ve got levels to go up and hopefully we’ll get the games to show that.”

The Scotland players were training in the sunshine in Garmisch-Partenkirchen earlier on Saturday, with all present apart from Ryan Jack, who is still a bit “under the weather”.

A victory against the Hungarians would almost certainly seal Scotland’s place in the knockout stages, but there are other permutations that could see them seal a place in the last 16.

If Scotland draw against Hungary, then they would need the third-placed team in at least two of the other six groups to finish on the same total or less.

They would then qualify for the knockout stages if the following four results happen:

  • Albania lose to Spain and Croatia lose against Italy in Group B
  • Czech Republic lose against Turkey and Georgia lose against Portugal in Group D

Elsewhere, fan zones in Stuttgart have been closed temporarily due to “severe weather”, with signs warning of thunderstorms being broadcast around the city.

However, the severe weather has not dampened the Tartan Army’s spirits.

Fans have been asked to move to 'safe areas'.STV News

Sven Stolz, the head of Euro 2024 fan engagement for Cologne, has said the Tartan Army “has won our hearts”.

From the singing, the dancing, the drinking, the wee old woman being helped along a cobbled street with a brolly over her head, STV’s Chris Harvey feels that the Tartan Army aren’t ready to say Auf Wiedersehen yet.

Meanwhile, the official Scotland Supporters Club has issued a message from UEFA regarding fans in Dusseldorf.

Due to the large volume of Scotland fans in the city, they have advised a number of locations to watch Sunday’s game at.

A major blow was dealt to the Scotland camp on Friday as it was announced that defender Kieran Tierney would be missing the rest of the tournament after suffering a hamstring injury.

The Arsenal defender was forced off on a stretcher during the late stages of the 1-1 Group A draw with Switzerland in Cologne on Wednesday night.

The 27-year-old revealed “heartbroken doesn’t cut it” and he will now return to London to be fully assessed by his parent club.

Scotland assistant John Carver admitted his loss was a “blow”.

While Scotland’s clash with Hungary will be the first time that the sides have met competitively – they have previously faced each other in nine friendlies.

From humiliation under Vogts, to a first win for McLeish, to defeat under Stein, and to current boss Clarke turning out, Scotland has had a mixed bag of results against the Hungarians in recent years.

With everything on the line on Sunday, STV Sport has taken a look back at the last four encounters between the sides.

Hungary manager Marco Rossi told Saturday’s press conference his side is in the “same boat as Scotland”.

He said: “I think Scotland are always aggressive. They tried to do that in their first two matches as well.

“As to whether they will still be, we’ll see that tomorrow night.

“But I think we’re in the same boat as Scotland. It’s not just them who need three points, we do too. Coming away with maximum points might see us through to the knockout stage.

Scotland assistant coach John Carver addressed the media on Friday in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and issued the following words of encouragement to his players. “Let’s see how the game develops and plays out but if we do it we will be the first team to do it and people will remember the team to do it for the first time.

“That’s what they have to think about in the back of their minds. These guys have got us to this tournament and we deserve to be there.

“They have put all the work and effort in to get us to where we are – why can’t we go one step further and take it to that next level? Because that’s what we want, we all want that and there is no reason why we can’t after what we saw a couple of days ago.”

Scotland fans are in good spirits ahead of Sunday's game. Getty Images
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