⚽ Euro 2024: Germany v. Scotland - Can Scotland Upset the Hosts?

in WOX Sportslast month (edited)

As evening approaches, the European Championships will be kicking off in customary fashion with the host nation, Germany, playing at the Allianz Arena in Munich. Their opponents being surprise qualifiers Scotland, bringing their instantly recognisable Tartan Army.

With the bookmakers making Germany overwhelming favourites (a win probability of roughly 77%), you could be mistaken for thinking that the result is a foregone conclusion. I'm here to make you think twice...



Scotland faced a difficult task to get out of their group, drawn against the much fancied Spain and Norway - the latter boasting arguably 2 of the best players in the World in Martin Ødegaard and Erling Haaland.

They kicked off in incredible fashion, a comfortable 3-0 win against Cyprus and then an unexpected victory against Spain - winning 2-0 at Hampden Park. They then had the difficult task of travelling to Oslo where with 5 minutes remaining, they trailed 1-0 to an Erling Haaland penalty. Not giving up, goals from Lyndon Dykes and Kenny McLean turned the result on its head to see them leading the group, with 3 wins out of 3.

They followed this up with a win against Georgia (who would later qualify through the playoffs) and completing the double over Cyprus. An unlikely 5 wins out of 5, still topping the group and qualification looking an almost certainty.

A defeat to Spain and draws in Georgia and against Norway seeing them comfortably qualify in 2nd place.

Germany on the other hand, qualified as hosts and haven't played competitively since their disappointing elimination in the World Cup Group Stage 18 months ago. They've played 15 friendlies in this time, winning just 6, drawing 3 and losing 6 - more importantly though, their record since Julian Nagelsmann took over reads 4 wins, 2 draw and 2 defeats. Defeats to Austria and Türkiye contrasting with more recent wins against France and the Netherlands.

Perhaps surprisingly, Scotland have the best competitive record of any team in the tournament, except for Portugal, since the last Euros in 2020. A record of 15 wins in 21 matches. Ex-Reading manager Steve Clarke getting more out of this squad than he was ever able to get out of the Mighty Royals.

Much of this has been credited to his tactics and how his squad selection compliments this so well...



On paper, Scotland line-up in a 3-4-2-1 or 5-2-2-1 depending upon how attacking you want to make it sound. 3 centre backs flanked by the only wide men (on paper), with 2 holding midfielders, and 2 No. 10's supporting a lone striker.

The starting line-up almost certainly matching the players I've listed in the image, with Adams or Shankland starting up front and Christie potentially dropping out, seeing McTominay play further forward as we saw in qualifying. Callum McGregor likely being the man to fill in alongside Billy Gilmour if Christie does miss out.

It's what happens in and out of possession which makes this initial formation appear misleading.

Out of Possession

Without the ball, the more attack minded McGinn and Christie will be asked to drop back and it'll look more like a 5-4-1. Solid and allowing Hendry to move up if the opponent's Centre Forward drops deep. It's expected that Havertz will play up front for Germany and I'm expecting to see this happen a lot. This means that when Gundogan moves forward, he's still got Tierney and Porteous covering.

Wirtz and Musiala coming in from the flanks will likely have Robertson and Ralston, along with McGinn and Christie supporting the defence and in the middle, Gilmour and McTominay will be trying to keep Toni Kroos in particular quiet - I wouldn't be surprised to see Billy Gilmour given a man-to-man role on Kroos.

It's Musiala and Kroos that I think the outcome will be decided. Ralston is Scotland's 3rd choice right back - with Aaron Hickey and Nathan Patterson out injured. Ralston's a decent player, turning out for Scottish champions Celtic but Musiala is superb on his day and if Kroos can pick some passes, a moment of quality could be all that decides it.

Back to the tactics...

In Possession

In possession, it looks more like a modern 4-2-3-1 formation. One of the full backs (in this image, I've chosen Robertson on the left) will push right up and to stop their left flank being exposed, Kieran Tierney will shift across to cover that flank.

Further forward, the number 10's will shuffle across so that there's width on the other side and options in the centre.

It's unlikely that more than just 1 of the full backs will more forward at any time but when it makes sense to do so, Tierney could also move up and support Robertson on the left flank and similarly Porteous and Ralston on the right.

It's these combinations of wide centre backs and full backs that are key to the way Scotland play.

Scotland won't dominate possession but will be happy sitting deep and try to hit Germany on the counter attack. This was their strategy throughout qualifying which is supported by the data. They had the fewest shots out of any team that qualified but significantly, they had the highest conversion rate. Scott McTominay in particular managing to score 7 out of his grand total of 8 shots.


My Prediction

Ok, I'm conscious that my readers are more likely to be German that Scottish and I'm sure that Germany has been filled by waves of excitement and anticipation. I'm going to be the opposite to this as I certainly don't see this being a comfortable night for Germany. As I mentioned before, a lot will depend upon the ability of Wirtz, Musiala and Kroos to unlock a very solid defensive shape. It's been suggested that the front line of Havertz, Gundogan, Wirtz and Musiala haven't really clicked yet which again supports my thinking. Will the additional pressure of home expectations against a weaker opponent also play its part or will the crowd be that extra push to victory?

Let's be bold and predict a Scotland win. Germany 0-1 Scotland.




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The game was epic and good to see Scotland found the energy to score one back...
So looking forward for the next game, starting in less than an hour actually.
One good side of my country team absent from the championship is I will watch and enjoy with pure pleasure and no drama at all, hehe.

I was so disappointed with Scotland. When I wrote this post, I honestly thought they'd do better than they did. I don't think Germany needed to do much to win the game but they did what they had to.

I much prefer watching other teams than England. I'm dreading watching us tomorrow.

I agree and you're right, their team didn't look quite focused and it was obvious to me some communication is missing. Still they have time to adjust and start enjoying the games, then they could win some ;)

Good that England gave it a great start. Not a huge victory, in terms of the score, but well, quite enough, right. The team now will have even better self-esteem and this will in term reflect in the next games.

Lucky for me, I had the time today to watch Romania vs. Ukraine, I am surprised to see how well Romanians have started, it wouldn't surprise me if they attend to the championship longer than expected :)

Musiala was so gooood today

He’s class. I suspected his match up against Ralston would be important.

I didn’t expect Germany to find so much space between the Defence and Midfield - Scotland just didn’t know what to do about it. Germany were far superior.

Some good looking games today. Hungary v. Switzerland and Spain v. Croatia could go either way. Italy should batter Albania.

I think Croatia might actually defeat Spain today they've got good depth in the midfield. I'm placing my bets on Croatia, Hungary and Italy

Ps: didn't know about Wox sports. Seems like a good place for sports talk

Real money bets or prediction bets 😉

I created WOX Sports ages ago (when steem sports stopped). It did well for a while but I think the sports writers thought they’d try their chances on Hive instead so it’s been very quiet since. It’d be nice if more people posted again but people gravitate towards SECs and Booming so 🤷‍♂️

People would rather chase the votes than post in relevant communities. I guess that’s good because it’ll end up full of “My Sports Diary Game”s.

Real money bets or prediction bets 😉
Haha you know we're not allowed to place real money bets, just a figure of speech.

It’d be nice if more people posted again but people gravitate towards SECs and Booming so 🤷‍♂️

Maybe I'll grab this opportunity to post a couple of analysis on Euro matches and ICC WC. My Sunday football matches would also be more suited for this community instead of WOX.

My Sports Diary Game”s.

I woke up, brushed my teeth, got out of the bed stuff...

Today I woke up at 5:56. This was earlier than usual. Usually, I wake up at 6:00. When I woke up, I opened my eyes. I was still tired though so I closed them again. I opened them again when my alarm went off at 6:00. This is the time that I wake up. I woke up at this time. It is a good time to wake up. I like waking up at this time. So I woke up. This is how my day began. By waking up.

Are you sure you woke up?

Even before they started the match, I knew there was no way that Scotland would ever win germany. Even in Germany worst form they will still eat Scotland for breakfast.

Germany will come out of there group with full 9 point’s because even Switzerland don’t stand a chance.

Are you a Man Utd fan?

Hahaha…. Nope!! Why did you ask??😊😊

Man Utd fans tend to work in extremes. Your comment was black and white in a grey world.

Hahahaha… I use to like Man united when sir Ferguson was the coach but my club has always been Barcelona. I’m even tipping Spain to win the euros. 😊😊😊

But looking at the German group, we both know the matches is going to be a walkover Germany and don’t forget the home advantages for them too..😊

I think it’ll be tough. Switzerland are a very strong team and comfortably beat a decent Hungary too. Unlike the World Cup, there are no weak teams at the Euros.

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