What next for Steve Clarke's Scotland after defeat to England?

The national team have three games to get what they need for Euro 2024 qualification.

What next for Steve Clarke’s Scotland after friendly defeat to England?

The international camp may not have ended positively as Scotland fell to home defeat against England, but for manager Steve Clarke the primary aim was achieved.

Friday’s Euro 2024 qualifier win over Cyprus continued Scotland’s 100% record in Group A and put the national team on the verge of reaching next year’s finals in Germany.

Qualification could have been confirmed on Tuesday had Norway and Georgia played out a draw but a 2-1 win for Erling Haalanad-inspired Norway kept their slim qualifications alive.

Top seeds Spain thumped Cyprus 6-0 to continue their strong recent form and underline their credentials as potential group winners.

So with Scotland having banked a perfect set of results so far, what lies ahead for Clarke’s side and how close is qualification?

Scotland still remain at the top of their group. (Pic from uefa.com)

The table still makes for happy reading for Scotland fans.

With three games to play, the team just has to make sure that they are in the top two positions to reach the finals.

Next month, Clarke and his players travel to play Spain on October 12 while Norway play in Cyprus on the same night. Should Scotland win, qualification is assured. A point would likely be enough. If Norway fail to win, Scotland will qualify regardless of their result in Seville.

If results don’t go our way and Scotland lose while Norway win, there’s another opportunity three days later. Norway host Spain on October 15 and again, if Norway drop points, Scotland’s qualification would be guaranteed.

Clarke will take his players to France that week for another testing friendly but the Euro 2024 qualifiers will conclude in November. The team faces Georgia away from home before concluding the campaign at home against Norway. If qualification hasn’t already been concluded, those last two matchdays provide the final opportunities to seal a guaranteed place in the finals.

The odds are stacked heavily in Scotland’s favour after the 100% start to the campaign but even of results go against the team, there is still the lifeline of the play-offs.

Nations League success means that failure to reach the Euros through the groups would still see the team granted a knockout chance against other teams who haven’t earned a place yet. It isn’t what Clarke would want from this strong position but is the route that took Scotland to Euro 2020.

Key dates for Scotland

October 12

Spain v Scotland

Cyprus v Norway

October 15

Norway v Spain

October 17

France v Scotland (friendly)

November 16

Georgia v Scotland

November 19

Scotland v Norway

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