Spain will look to build on the win over Norway when they take on Scotland at Hampden Park in the latest UEFA Euro 2024 qualifier.
The UEFA Euro 2024 Qualifiers are underway, with teams starting to get in shape ahead of next year’s quadrennial event. Group A will witness Matchday 2 fixtures on Tuesday, with the marquee match featuring Scotland and Spain at Hampden Park.
Scotland and Spain both began their campaigns with 3-0 wins, laying down the marker for the other teams in Group A. While the Tartan Terriers got past Cyprus, La Furia Roja beat Norway last week.
Both Scotland and Spain will be eager to make their mark by cruising to the UEFA Euro 2024 finals after ending 2022 on a whimper. Scotland did not reach the 2022 FIFA World Cup after failing to qualify and will be eager to make amends with these qualifiers. On the other hand, Spain went out in the Round of 16, with Morocco beating them.
Spain clinched a 3-1 win the last time they faced Scotland, with David Silva (brace) and David Villa finding the back of the net. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides.
Team News & Tactics
Scotland squad update.
IN: Lawrence Shankland.
OUT: Anthony Ralston & Ché Adams pic.twitter.com/mkZPJU0CCM
— Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) March 26, 2023
Steve Clarke has new injury concerns hampering his preparations ahead of his side’s latest fixture. Against Spain on Tuesday, the Scotland head coach will be without two of the players he picked in his original squad.
Che Adams is the most notable absentee, with the 26-year-old pulling out of the squad. Adams limped off against Cyprus after sustaining a calf injury. And there are other casualties, with Jack Hendry and Anthony Ralston also pulling out. Meanwhile, Lawrence Shankland has replaced Adams in the squad.
Clarke will make a few changes to the starting eleven, but the defensive unit should remain unchanged. Angus Gunn will take his usual spot between the sticks, with Scotland lining up in a 3-4-2-1 formation in front of him.
Ryan Porteous, Grant Hanley, and Kieran Tierney should form the central defensive unit. And the trio will look to keep things tight at the back, aiming to neutralise the threat of Alvaro Morata. Meanwhile, Aaron Hickey and Andrew Robertson should be the two wing-backs.
Scott McTominay should return to the starting eleven after scoring a match-winning brace against Cyprus. The 26-year-old will likely replace Ryan Jack. So Callum McGregor will pair up with McTominay in the middle of the park.
Ryan Christie should also return, with Stuart Armstrong vacating a spot in the offensive unit. Christie will join John McGinn and Lyndon Dykes in the final third. And the latter will replace the injured Adams as the central striker for Scotland.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Gunn; Porteous, Hanley, Tierney; Hickey, McGregor, McTominay, Robertson; McGinn, Christie; Dykes
Unlike his counterpart in the Scotland dugout, Luis de la Fuente came through unscathed from the opener. So the Spain head coach will have a full-strength squad at his disposal at Hampden Park on Tuesday.
There might be a few changes in the starting eleven after the last outing. And the midfield unit, in particular, will see a few seismic shifts. Iago Aspas is in the firing line after a sub-par performance on his first start for Spain since 2019.
The Celta Vigo veteran should drop to the bench, with Fabian Ruiz, who supplied the game’s second goal, replacing him. Mikel Merino might also start as a substitute, with Dani Ceballos getting a chance to impress. Ruiz and Ceballos will join Rodri in the middle of the park.
🛬 @SEFutbol lands in Glasgow 🏴
🗓️ Spain will play their second @EURO2024 qualifying match in the Scottish city next Tuesday.
— Spanish Football (@SpainIsFootball) March 27, 2023
Alvaro Morata is the new Spain captain following Sergio Busquets’s retirement. And the 30-year-old will spearhead the attack again, meaning Joselu, who scored twice on debut against Norway last week, will remain on the bench.
But Morata must raise his performance levels, especially if Joselu produces another brilliant cameo against Scotland. Meanwhile, Dani Olmo and Gavi should join the skipper in the final third again, despite the latter’s poor showing against Norway.
The defensive unit should remain unchanged, with comeback men Dani Carvajal and Nacho starting again. The Real Madrid pair will shore up the right half of the backline. And they will join Aymeric Laporte and Alejandro Balde in the backline. Finally, Kepa Arrizabalaga should start in Unai Simon’s absence again.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Kepa; Carvajal, Nacho, Laporte, Balde; Ceballos, Rodri, Ruiz; Olmo, Morata, Gavi
- Spain are unbeaten in their last five games against Scotland (W3 D2) since losing 3-1 in a World Cup qualifier in November 1984.
- Excluding play-offs, Scotland have won their last seven qualifying matches, keeping six clean sheets in the process. At home, they are unbeaten in eight (W7 D1), winning each of the most recent five.
- Spain have lost just one of their last 18 away European Championship qualifiers (W14 D3), going down 2-1 to Slovakia in October 2014. In all competitions, Spain have won their last three away games, last winning four in a row in October 2017.
- John McGinn has been directly involved in 22 goals for Scotland while playing under Steve Clarke (16 goals and six assists); twice as many as any other player in this period (11, Lyndon Dykes).
- Dani Olmo has been involved in three goals in his last five appearances for Spain (two goals, one assist) and is looking to score in consecutive appearances for the first time since March 2021.
Player to Watch
Luis de la Fuente’s decision to appoint Alvaro Morata as the new Spain captain raised many eyebrows. But while the 30-year-old will be under the spotlight again, another player from the offensive unit takes the spot in this section for this match. We are talking about Dani Olmo.
The 24-year-old faces an uncertain future at the club level amid links with several top clubs. But Olmo is not letting the uncertainties surrounding his future trouble him on the international stage. And after scoring against Norway, he will be eager to make his mark again this week before returning to Leipzig.
Scotland 1-1 Spain
Scotland and Spain come into Tuesday’s game brimming with confidence and energy after their 3-0 wins. And while conventional wisdom would suggest a repeat act from the visitors, the hosts are no pushovers. And Steve Clarke’s men have a solid recent record at home.
So it will not be surprising if Scotland can manage to spring a surprise and take the lead on Tuesday. But Joselu might produce another game-changing cameo off the bench. And in the end, there might not be much to separate the two sides. The Hard Tackle predicts Scotland and Spain to play out a 1-1 draw.