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Scotland reporter notebook: Steve Clarke and co want to lead Euro 2024 party like it's 1999

Scotland face Euro 2024 hosts Germany in the opening match at the Allianz Arena in Munich on Friday; their last win against the Germans was in a friendly in 1999

As Scotland prepare to open Euro 2024 against hosts Germany on Friday, Sky Sports News reporter Luke Shanley explains why Steve Clarke's side have to believe they can spring a surprise...

Scotland are ready to take centre stage and I don't mean John McGinn and his Bavarian dancing band. Steve Clarke's team will open Euro 2024 against hosts Germany and they don't want to be the supporting act.

It is the first overseas tournament Scotland have qualified for since the World Cup in France 1998, ironically another tournament in which Scotland played in the opening game. That was against world champions Brazil in Paris.

Scotland's training base is in the Bavarian town Garmisch Partenkirchen
Image: Scotland's training base is in the Bavarian town Garmisch Partenkirchen

Scotland can look back 26 years and see the benefits of being written off, forgotten, and looked upon as bit parts in a global event. The team lost 2-1 that day to a late Tom Boyd own goal after a good performance that almost pulled off a shock with an approach that got the balance between defence and attack right while also riding their luck until Boyd's unfortunate moment.

Tom Boyd's own goal ended Scotland's hopes of a shock against Brazil at the World Cup in 1999
Image: Tom Boyd's own goal ended Scotland's hopes of a shock against Brazil at the World Cup in 1998

This time around Scotland will face the hosts who have the weight of expectation on their shoulders with signs of improvement under Julian Nagelsmann. The Scotland coaching staff never believed the narrative that Germany were on the downward path and it was the best time to play them.

Scotland themselves have won just one of their last nine games and that was against Gibraltar last week in a warm-up match in Faro, Portugal. Clarke has spoken about not having any 'Negative Normans' around the camp and fair enough, given the fantastic form early in the qualifying campaign. It is just one defeat in their last eight competitive games, including five wins in a row at the start of qualifying.

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Scotland midfielder Billy Gilmour is hoping to start the Euro 2024 opener against Germany and go up against 'one of the best midfielders in the game' in Toni Kroos

The national team need to rediscover that level of performance, especially the approach in the win over Spain at Hampden Park last year. The friendlies against top nations like England, France and Netherlands served a purpose, even if the results didn't go Scotland's way.

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Clarke will already have his mind made up on his team selection. He will have had some big decisions to make given the pre-tournament injuries, firstly to right wing-backs Aaron Hickey and Nathan Patterson before the squad was announced and then to strikers Lyndon Dykes and Ben Doak, who did make the cut.

Celtic's Anthony Ralston and Bristol City's Ross McCrorie are vying for that right wing-back position. My money would be on the former with the latter only making his debut in the win over Gibraltar.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - MARCH 26: Scotland's Lawrence Shankland pre-match during an International Friendly match between Scotland and Northern Ireland at Hampden Park, on March 26, 2024, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Image: Will Lawrence Shankland or Che Adams lead the line?

Lawrence Shankland scored in the last game against Finland with a good header and is the player of the year in Scotland thanks to 31 goals with Heart of Midlothian, but it is likely Che Adams will be given the nod ahead of him. He scored 18 goals for Southampton as they won promotion back to the Premier League via the play-offs and previous form for Scotland could be enough. He ended a 10-game drought at international level with a goal in Faro last week.

There may be one or two other tough picks for Clarke in central defence, but he has plenty of options who can slot in in that position.

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John McGinn joins in some Bavarian dancing as Scotland arrive in Germany ahead of Euro 2024!

When Scotland arrived at their training base in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, they were met by thunder and lightning but also a fantastic welcome from the mayor Elisabeth Koch and local residents, including some ex-pats. The team got off the bus to head into a small hall for an event in which John McGinn, who else, decided to partake in Bavarian dancing. It was great to see the team and the locals mix with no police, no barriers and no restrictions, a throwback considering what football is today.

Remember the saying, 'No Scotland, No Party'. It was great to see the town and the team come together but don't let the optics cloud the reality. The hard work has been under way for some time now. Clarke will have this Scotland team ready, the big question is, will it be good enough to perform on one of the biggest stages?

It has been 25 years since Scotland beat Germany in Bremen thanks to a Don Hutchison strike, The Tartan Army want to party like it's 1999 again.

Scotland's record vs Germany

James Forrest and Grant Hanley played in Scotland's last match against Germany in 2015
Image: James Forrest and Grant Hanley played in Scotland's last match against Germany in 2015

The teams have faced each other 17 times and last met in a European Championship qualifier in 2015 with Scotland losing to the then world champions 3-2 at Hampden Park.

Two of Scotland's current squad, James Forrest and Grant Hanley, started that match in Glasgow.

Don Hutchison scored in Scotland's late win vs Germany in 1999
Image: Don Hutchison scored in Scotland's late win versus Germany in 1999

Scotland have only beaten their opening opponents four times, with the last victory coming in a friendly in 1999.

Managed by Craig Brown, Scotland defeated a German side that included names such as Oliver Bierhoff and Lothar Matthaus thanks to the second-half goal from Hutchison.

Scotland's Euro 2024 schedule

Scotland take on Germany at the Munich Football Arena (Allianz Arena) on June 14.

The Scots also face games against perennial qualifiers Switzerland in Cologne on June 19, with Hungary - who reached the knockouts in 2016 - awaiting in Stuttgart on June 23.

Scotland’s potential route to the final finishing as group winners…

If Scotland finish as winners of Group A but all other results at Euro 2024 go with the world rankings, the Scots’ opponents in the knockout rounds would be…

Round of 16: Saturday June 29 – Scotland vs Denmark (Westfalenstadion, Dortmund)

Quarter-final: Friday July 5 – Spain vs Scotland (MHPArena, Stuttgart)

Semi-final: Tuesday July 9 – Scotland vs Netherlands; kick-off 8pm (Allianz Arena, Munich)

Final: Sunday July 14 – Scotland vs France; kick-off 8pm (Olympiastadion, Berlin)

Scotland’s potential route to the final finishing as group runners-up…

If Scotland finish as Group A runners-up but all other results at Euro 2024 go with the world rankings, the Scots’ opponents in the knockout rounds would be…

Round of 16: Saturday June 29 – Scotland vs Italy (Olympiastadion, Berlin)

Quarter-final: Saturday July 6 – England vs Scotland (Merkur Spiel-Arena, Düsseldorf)

Semi-final: Wednesday July 10 – France vs Scotland; kick-off 8pm (Allianz Arena, Munich)

Final: Sunday July 14 – Spain vs Scotland; kick-off 8pm (Olympiastadion, Berlin)

If Scotland finish as one of four best third-placed teams...

One of:

Sunday June 30 - Group B winners vs third-placed side from Group A/D/E/F (RheinEnergieStadion, Cologne)

Monday July 1 - Group F winners vs third-placed side from Group A/B/C (Waldstadion, Frankfurt)

Tuesday July 2: Group E winners vs third-placed side Group A/B/C/D (Allianz Arena, Munich)

Quarter-finals

If Scotland finish first in Group A and win round-of-16 game...

Friday July 5 (MHPArena, Stuttgart)

If Scotland finish second in Group A and win round-of-16 game...

Saturday July 6 (Merkur Spiel-Arena, Dusseldorf)

If Scotland finish as one of four best third-placed teams and win round-of-16 game...

One of:

Friday July 5 (MHPArena, Stuttgart)

Friday July 5 (Volksparkstadion, Hamburg)

Saturday July 6 - (Olympiastadion, Berlin)

Semi-finals

If Scotland finish first in Group A, win round-of-16 game and win quarter-final...

Tuesday July 9 - kick-off 8pm (Allianz Arena, Munich)

If Scotland finish second in Group A, win round-of-16 game and win quarter-final...

Wednesday July 10 - kick-off 8pm (Westfalenstadion, Dortmund)

If Scotland finish as one of four best third-placed teams, win round-of-16 game and win quarter-final...

One of:

Tuesday July 9 - kick-off 8pm (Allianz Arena, Munich)

Wednesday July 10 - kick-off 8pm (Westfalenstadion, Dortmund)

And finally, the final...

Sunday July 14 - kick-off 8pm (Olympiastadion, Berlin)

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