The draw for the group stage of this summer’s European Championships take place on Saturday when Scotland will find out their three group stage opponents.
The Tartan Army will travel to Germany in their thousands for the country’s fourth appearance at a Euros and 12th major tournament.
Scotland have yet to make it past the group stages in any of the previous 11 and will be hoping for a kind draw when the six groups are decided in Hamburg this weekend.
Steve Clarke’s side will be in pot 3 beside the likes of the Netherlands, Slovenia, Slovakia and two of their Euro 2020 opponents in Czech Republic and Croatia.
So they will have one team from pot 1, pot 2 and pot 4 with the top two from every group reaching the knockout stages alongside four of the best third places sides.
That means they could potentially be drawn against England for the third consecutive Euros after also taking on the Auld Enemy in Euro 96 and Euro 2020, which was held a year later in 2021.
Gareth Southgate’s side are in pot 1 beside the hosts, World Cup finalists France, Portugal, Spain and Belgium.
The month long tournament kicks off on June 14 and Scotland’s opener will be their first Euros game outside of the UK since they beat the Soviet Union – who were then known as the Commonwealth of Independent States following the break up of the Soviet Union that year – 3-0 in their final group of Sweden 92.
Euro 96 was held in England, with Scotland drawing 0-0 with the Netherlands, beating Switzerland 1-0 and losing to the home nation at Wembley, and Euro 2020 was a continent wide tournament with Scotland playing two games in front of a restricted crowd at Hampden, a 2-0 defeat to Czech and 3-1 loss to Croatia, and a 0-0 draw with the English in London.
The National Team will be hoping for better luck this time around, starting with Saturday’s draw.
We take a look at how the draw could work out:
Where and when is the draw taking place?
The draw will be staged in Hamburg, at the city’s Elbphilharmonie concert hall, starting at 5pm UK time.
The full ceremony is slated to last for 50 minutes, with the draw itself expected to occupy 20 of those minutes.
Pots and potential opponents
Twenty-four countries will be divided into six groups from four pots in accordance with their results in qualifying.
Once drawn from their respective pots, a separate draw will allocate the team’s position number within their group.
Hosts Germany have automatically been allocated to Group A, position 1.
Scotland are a pot 3 side so will play one team from each of pot 1, pot 2 and pot 4 in the group stage with the top two side guaranteed a place in the last-16 beside four of the best third placed team.
- Czech Republic
- Play off winner A (Wales, Finland, Poland or Estonia)
- Play off winner B (Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Israel or Iceland)
- Play off winner C (Georgia, Greece, Luxembourg or Kazakhstan)
There will be no easy games in Germany with all the qualified sides having already proved their qualities by reaching the tournament.
The hosts are amazingly the lowest ranked side from a very tough looking pot 1 and have struggled for form of late, but playing in front of a home crowd, and past major tournament record, will likely make them one of the favourites once the game get under way.
Scotland defeated Spain in qualifying already but lost the return fixture and might want to avoid another clash with a very talented young squad that will likely have the likes of Pedri and Gavi back in the mix by next summer.
So if Steve Clarke could hand pick his preferred group it would probably something like:
- Playoff winner C
On the other hand, a group that the Tartan Army would be hoping to avoid would look something like:
European champions Italy will be the team every one will be wanting to avoid from pot 4, while World Cup finalists France are the highest ranked team in the continent.
Scotland in previous Euros
Scotland have appeared at three European Championships previously, failing to get out of the groups in each one yet.
This is how the groups looked after the final games.
- CIS (A team made of former Soviet Union nations)
Scotland lost 1-0 to the Netherlands in their opening game and fell to a 2-0 defeat to the Germans before finishing their campaign on a high with a 3-0 win.
Craig Brown’s Scotland side held the Netherlands to a 0-0 draw in their opening game before losing 2-0 to England in the second.
Despite beating Switzerland 1-0 in the final group game they agonisingly missed out in a place in the last eight to the Netherlands on goals scored.
- Czech Republic
Scotland opened their campaign with a 2-0 defeat to the Czechs before getting a point from England in a 0-0 draw at Wembley.
However they crashed out again at the earliest opportunity with a 3-1 defeat to Croatia at Hampden.
Fun Euros fact:
Every player in history that has scored a goal for Scotland at the Euros has had a Mc surname.
In 1992 the goal-scorers were Paul McStay, Brian McClair and Gary McAllister, in Euro 96 Ally McCoist was the only scorer and Celtic captain Callum McGregor got the only goal of the Euro 2020 campaign when he scored against Croatia.
So does that mean the stage is set for the likes of John McGinn, Scott McTominay or McGregor again to step to the plate and earn themselves a place in the history books when Euro 2024 gets under way next summer?
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