'We did too much of that' - What Scotland plan to do less of against Hungary in bid to reach Euros last 16

Steve Clarke addresses media for final time before Stuttgart showdown

Steve Clarke is confident his Scotland players won’t let the occasion overwhelm them again as he plots to create history against Hungary in Stuttgart this evening.

The Scotland manager admits the team were affected by the build-up to the opening game against Germany. They were swept away 5-1 and now Clarke will aim to draw the tension from what is essentially a cup final.

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Although no player will require motivation on a night when they can become the first Scotland footballers to reach the second stage of a major final, Clarke will aim to compose a short speech.

Scotland manager Steve Clarke during a training session at Stadion am Groben in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. Picture date: Saturday June 22, 2024.Scotland manager Steve Clarke during a training session at Stadion am Groben in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. Picture date: Saturday June 22, 2024.
Scotland manager Steve Clarke during a training session at Stadion am Groben in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. Picture date: Saturday June 22, 2024.

“I will try to give them something,” he said. “Everybody knows how big a game it is and you can talk and talk and talk about it. We probably did a little too much of that in the first game so we will try to underplay this one if you can ever underplay a game of this magnitude. We will try to underplay it a little bit and make sure we are ready to go come kick-off.”

Clarke wants his team to demonstrate that lessons have been learned from 2022. Scotland failed to secure a place in the last 16 when they lost 3-1 against Croatia on a night to forget at Hampden.

Now they must take all three points against Hungary to almost certainly claim their place in the knockout round. A draw would leave a slim hope of qualification.

“We thought it might come down to needing to get something from the last game of the group,” he said. “That’s the stage we are at and we’ve been in this position before in the last tournament. Hopefully we can show that we have learned a few lessons.”

Hungary, who are managed by Italian former defender Marco Rossi, have lost their first two games but Clarke is reading little into that fact.

The former West Brom and Kilmarnock manager said: “If you look at their record the past few years, they’ve been building towards this. A good coach, well organised, good discipline without the ball, a good threat with the ball.

“They’ve got talented players but hopefully we can stifle them. We’re expecting a difficult game and I’m sure the Hungarians are also expecting a difficult game from us. We’re two similar teams, two similar line-ups and two similar systems, hopefully ours is slightly better than theirs.”

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