What does Scotland need to qualify to the round of 16 at Euro 2024? Every possible outcome

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Scotland’s prospects at Euro 2024 didn’t look at all promising after they were thrashed by hosts Germany in the opening game of the tournament at Allianz Arena in Munich.

However, Steve Clarke’s team go into their third and final Group A fixture against Hungary in Stuttgart on Sunday with a chance to make history.

Scotland’s prospects at Euro 2024 didn’t look at all promising after they were thrashed by hosts Germany in the opening game of the tournament at Allianz Arena in Munich.

Scotland looking to reach knockout rounds for first time

Once upon a time, the Scots were regular fixtures at the FIFA World Cup, qualifying for eight tournaments between 1954 and 1998, their most recent appearance.

They have now also featured in the European Championship on four occasions, with their qualification for the 2020 tournament (played in 2021), their first since 1996.

Although they were one of only eight teams to take part in Euro ‘92, in 11 previous major tournaments, they have never made it past the first group stage, a statistic they can change against Hungary.

How many teams qualify from each group?

The top two nations from each of the six four-team groups are assured of progressing to the round of 16, although there is little chance of Scotland finishing as runners-up to Germany in Group A.

If they defeat Hungary, and Switzerland lose to the tournament hosts, the Scots and the Swiss would both finish on four points.

Head-to-head is the first tie-breaker in the group stage, but the two countries drew 1-1 in Cologne, which would see the next tie-breaker, goal difference, come into play.

Following their 5-1 humbling at the hands of Germany and Switzerland’s 3-1 win over Hungary on matchday one, Scotland would need at least a six-goal swing in Sunday’s matches to finish second, which seems unlikely.

If the teams were also to end the group with the same goal difference, the one that had scored the most goals would come out on top.

Will Scotland qualify for the round of 16 if they beat Hungary?

Even if Scotland win, the most likely scenario is that they finish third, although that should still be enough to go through.

The best four of the six third-placed teams will qualify for the last 16, with the nations in question ranked by virtue of points, then goal difference, then goals scored, then number of wins, then disciplinary record.

As Clarke’s team play in the first round of games on matchday three, they could have to wait until the conclusion of Group F on Wednesday to be totally sure of a historic qualification.

However, since the European Championship’s expansion to 24 teams in 2016, no third-placed team with four points has ever failed to progress from their group (Slovakia and Republic of Ireland did so in 2016, as did Portugal, Czechia and Switzerland in 2020).

Can Scotland qualify for the round of 16 with a draw?

Scotland could even qualify for the round of 16 with a draw, although they would be much more dependent on results in upcoming matches in the other groups going their way.

If they finish on two points, they would need both Albania and Croatia to lose their final matches against Spain and Italy respectively in Group B, and hope Czechia and Georgia are also beaten in their third fixtures by Turkey and Portugal in Group F.

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