How yellow cards could decide Scotland's fate and second place in Euro 2020 Group D

Scotland only need a win against Croatia to qualify for the next round of Euro 2020 – but how they finish and where they go in the next round could come down to an unusual qualification quirk, if a particular set of results fall into place during the final matches of Group D.

Scotland's midfielder John McGinn is shown a yellow card during the UEFA EURO 2020 Group D football match between England and Scotland at Wembley Stadium in London on June 18, 2021. (Photo by FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA / POOL / AFP) (Photo by FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Three sets of results in the final fixtures – England versus Czech Republic and Scotland’s Hampden match – could lead to Steve Clarke’s side’s disciplinary record being totalled and compared to their southern rivals to decide who comes second and who comes third in the group – and where they’re going in the last 16.

Disciplinary points total is the fourth category to come into play when deciding upon teams level on points after the three group games.

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First comes the fairly arbitrary and universally used goal difference, then goals scored or number of wins. However disciplinary records will then be considered if teams still cannot be separated and then the team with the fewest cards will be allowed the higher standing – or in Scotland’s case second place of Group D.

That could be pivotal as the next deciding factor is world ranking and Scotland don’t stack up well against their Group D colleagues.

Head-to-head results also count within groups, so Scotland would always trail Czech Republic if they lost to England.

It’s all if buts and maybes but one thing is for sure, Scotland do need to win for it to become a factor.

If the Czech Republic concede but still win by one goal at Wembley and Scotland win by two goals – Steve Clarke’s disciplinary record could go head-to-head with Gareth Southgate’s team to decide between second and third.

It’s unlikely and does a pretty particular pair of results – a 2-1 Czech win and 2-0 Scotland; or 3-2 and 3-1 or even 4-3 and 4-2.

These sets of scores would prompt a card-count – Czech Republic win 2-0 and Scotland 1-0, or likewise 3-1 and 2-1 or 4-2 and 3-2.

The pivotal match at Hampden kicks off at 8pm, co-inciding with the action at Wembley.

Currently Scotland have two yellow cards – shown at Wembley to Stephen O’Donnell and John McGinn. England have one, for Phil Foden, against Croatia.

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