Scotland are on the cusp of achieving something they have never done in an international football tournament – getting past the first round.
Will Scotland qualify if the beat Croatia?
Victories for Austria, Belgium and Denmark have ensured that Steve Clarke’s men will become the first Scotland side to reach the knock-out phase of a major tournament if they claim three points in their final Group D fixture.
A victory could yet see Scotland finish second in the group on goal difference – so long as England v Czech Republic does not finish in a draw – but a win of any kind will be enough to guarantee qualification as a best-placed third place side.
A win would take Scotland onto four points, one more than Ukraine, who finished third in Group C on three points after their 1-0 defeat to Austria.
Group B’s third placed team, Finland, are also on three points after their 2-0 defeat to Belgium, which means Scotland will progress as one of four best third placed sides if they overcome Zlatko Dalić’s World Cup finalists of three years ago – a task which is easier said than done, particularly as the Croatians can also qualification with a win.
Scotland’s preparations for the match, which kicks off at 8pm, have been rocked by the news that Billy Gilmour - man of the match in the 0-0 draw with England at Wembley – has been ruled out after being forced into isolation following a positive test for Covid-19.
Tonight’s results also mean that Group D rivals England and Czech Republic have already qualified for the last 16 as both sides claimed four points from their opening two fixtures.
Who will Scotland face if they make it to the knockout stages of Euro 2020
Let’s be optimistic here and assume the Scots secure three points against the Croatians, what then?
If Scotland were to finish second in the group (which would require England losing to Czech Republic) Sweden/Slovakia/Spain/Poland would be waiting in Copenhagen on Monday, June 28, 5pm.
There is also a chance Scotland face Netherlands on Sunday 27 June in Budapest if games in Group E and F go a certain way.
The most likely scenario is Scotland play Sweden/Slovakia/Spain in Glasgow on Tuesday, June 29, 8pm.
The reason one of these three teams is the most likely scenario is because the teams who have finished third in Groups B and C – Finland and Ukraine – are the two who are most likely to miss out having finished on three points and with a minus goal difference, unless one of the outcomes in option 2 come to fruition.