Scotland set for Stuttgart showdown against Hungary in bid to make history

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

Match preview: Scotland to take on Hungary in final Euros group game Getty Images
Key Points
  • Steve Clarke told a media conference on Saturday ‘we know we have to win the game’
  • The team would make history if they make it to the knockout stages of the tournament
  • Scotland beat Hungary 1-0 in their last meeting at Budapest in 2018
  • John McGinn is hopeful someone is a ‘hero’ in Stuttgard – but doesn’t care who
  • Fans are arriving at the Stuttgart fan zone in numbers ahead of the match

Scotland could qualify for the knockout stages of a major tournament for the first time in their history in the final Group A game of Euro 2024 on Sunday.

Steve Clarke’s men take on Hungary in Stuttgart – and victory would almost certainly see the national side into the knockout stages.

When captain Andy Robertson leads the team out on to the pitch just before 8pm, Scotland’s bid to make qualification history will begin.

Ahead of the match, the Tartan Army have been gathering at fan zones in Stuttgart, hoping for victory.

STV Sport reporter Chris Harvey has been soaking up the atmosphere – quite literally – as a drizzle of rain in the fan zone is reminding fans what could await them back home if Scotland fail to make the final 16.

As the match draws closer, fans have been arriving in numbers at the Stuttgart fan zone.

Fans have been arriving in numbers throughout the day

With just hours to go until Scotland learn their fate, STV Sport looks at the Hungary side who stand in the way of qualification to the knockout stages of a major tournament for the first time, and what shape Scotland are in ahead of the crucial clash.

Pre-match thoughts

Scotland head coach Steve Clarke has said that “we know we have to win the game”.

He said on Saturday: “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.

“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.”

Scotland midfielder John McGinn has said he is hopeful someone is the “hero” in Stuttgart on Sunday – but he doesn’t care who.

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.”

Team news

It was announced from the camp 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, so he certainly won’t feature against Hungary.

Scotland will be missing another defender as Ryan Porteous will miss the game through suspension after being sent off against Germany in the opening fixture.

Meanwhile midfielder Ryan Jack was reported as being “under the weather” ahead of the final group stage match.

Blow: Tierney will not be available when Scotland face Hungary.Getty Images

Hungary form

A 3-1 defeat to Switzerland in their opening game was followed by a 2-0 loss to host country Germany, leaving Hungary needing a win against Scotland to have any chance of qualifying from Group A.

However, the Magyars showed enough in both games to be a concern to Scotland notwithstanding the poor first-half performance against the Swiss.

It should be noted that Hungary recently lost to Republic of Ireland in a friendly which makes it three defeats in four but they also beat England home and away in the Nations League in 2022.

However, it remains to be seen what two defeats have done to morale.


Dominik Szoboszlai of Liverpool is the biggest threat in the Hungary team and at 23, he is already the captain of his national side and the youngest captain at this championship.

Rangers fans will remember Szoboszlai, with him having played for RB Leipzig in the Europa League semi-finals in 2022.

Dominik Szoboszlai is the youngest captain at the championship.Getty Images

Goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi and defender Willi Orban also featured against the Light Blues and all three played against Celtic in the Champions League the following season.

Roland Sallai of SC Freiburg is a key attacker, along with Barnabas Varga of Ferencvaros while the big and burly Martin Adam of Ulsan HD is an unmissable figure.

Head-to-head record

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 – with the Scots winning two of the last three encounters.

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.

The Scots have won three of the friendly matches and drawn two, with the Magyars coming out on top on four occasions.

The last meeting between the teams was in 2018 when Scotland won 1-0 in a challenge match in Budapest with Matt Phillips scoring the winner for Alex McLeish’s side three minutes after the break.

Matt Phillips scored his only international goal so seal victory. SNS Group


Scotland’s most realistic hope is to beat Hungary and hope that’s enough to put them through as one of the four best third-placed teams across all six groups.

If Scotland win and Switzerland get at least a point against Germany then Steve Clarke’s side will face an anxious wait to see if they have done enough to reach the knockout stages.

There is still a slight chance that a draw would be enough to send Scotland into the last-16 but again it would be heavily dependent on results from other groups going their way.

In the most straightforward outcome of the lot, if Scotland lose to Hungary then their Euro 2024 would officially be over on Sunday.

Group A table

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