Scotland vs Switzerland. Prediction and Preview. Probable Lineups, Team News, Stats, and more

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Scotland suffered a significant defeat in their opening match. Can they bounce back against a formidable opponent like Switzerland?

Scotland will host Switzerland in the UEFA EURO 2024 second-round match of Group A at the Cologne Stadium. The fixture will take place on Thursday, June 20, beginning at 00:30 IST.

Parimatch News will tell you everything you need to know ahead of the upcoming match.

Scotland News & Current Form: 

The Scotland national team has recently been in less-than-stellar form. The last notable surge for the Tartan Army came during the early stages of the Euro 2024 qualifiers when they achieved a five-match winning streak, securing an early ticket to Germany. Remarkably, the Blues unexpectedly finished second in their group, which included Spain, Georgia, Cyprus, and Norway (with Erling Haaland and Co. failing to qualify). 

However, subsequent performances were less impressive: since September of last year, they have only managed to win once in a friendly match against Gibraltar. After that, they drew with Finland with a score of 2:2 after a successfully converted penalty from the opponent in the 85th minute. These results highlight the team’s instability ahead of the serious challenges at the continental championship.

In the final stages of the Euros, the British team found themselves in a group with Switzerland, Hungary, and Germany, and are clearly considered underdogs. They began their campaign in the opening match against the host country. Steve Clarke opted for a formation with three central defenders, intended to curb the powerful attacks of the German team. The plan involved a defensive 5-4-1 strategy, requiring players to defend actively and utilize offside traps.

Scott McTominay celebrated his 50th appearance in the Scottish jersey during the match against Germany

However, from the start of the match, it was clear the strategy was ineffective. Germany dominated entirely. The first two goals were scored following combinations orchestrated by Toni Kroos. The Scots were unable to effectively contain the opponents’ midfielders and forwards. Every time the Blues attempted to press, they left open spaces that the Germans exploited to create scoring opportunities.

Watford FC defender Ryan Porteous deserves special mention, as he was frequently featured in European publications due to a reckless tackle on Ilkay Gündogan, resulting in a red card. He was replaced by Grant Hanley of Norwich City FC, who played reasonably well, considering the circumstances. However, Hanley’s age of 32 raises concerns about his ability to compete with the swift forwards of the Swiss team.

After the red card and a penalty converted by Kai Havertz at the end of the first half (3:0), the game was effectively over. The Scottish team failed to produce any meaningful attacking actions, finishing the match with zero shots on target and xG. This game demonstrated that when facing higher-calibre teams, the Tartan defence can fall apart. For the first time in Euros history, Scotland lost by a margin of more than three goals.

“We played against the host country in the opening match, and it couldn’t have been tougher. We are angry, and disappointed in ourselves, but we must stay positive and prepare for the game against Switzerland, which will be another tough test,”

said Scotland captain Andrew Robertson

In the end, few Scottish fans expected their team to secure victories in Germany, especially not in their debut against the Euro hosts. However, the level of the collapse that occurred was also unexpected.

Regarding squad issues, Clarke faced several injuries ahead of Euro 2024, but the entire squad that arrived in Germany remains injury-free. Notably, due to injuries, Evan Ferguson, who had a brilliant season at Bologna FC directing the attacking play in midfield, and Everton’s defender Patterson could not join the tournament. Additionally, Scott McTominay and Ryan Christie have joined the ranks of Scotland’s honorary players, having played their 50th matches for the national team, with their next game set for Thursday.

Switzerland News & Current Form: 

The Swiss collective, showcasing confident preparation, is rightfully considered one of the favourites to advance to the playoffs. Securing three points in their game against Scotland will guarantee Switzerland a spot in the Round of 16. In the spring, the team played solid matches, drawing with Denmark (0:0) and narrowly defeating Ireland. In the summer, they followed up with a convincing 4:0 victory over Estonia, although the actual play was more modest. Their most recent friendly against Austria ended in a 1:1 draw, where the opponent displayed a more aggressive performance.

In the first round, the team of Murat Yakin confidently defeated Hungary with a score of 3:1. The Red Crosses exhibited organized and tactically sound play, allowing them to control the match from the start. The coach initiated the match with a 4-3-3 formation, utilizing wingers to spark attacks. By the 12th minute, Kwadwo Duah had opened the scoring, showcasing excellent combination play and finishing the attack with a precise strike. Michel Aebischer doubled the Swiss lead just before halftime.

In the second half, Hungary attempted to turn the tide, with Barnabas Varga pulling one back in the 66th minute. However, the Swiss defence, led by Manuel Akanji, remained reliable and effectively thwarted all opponent attempts. The Hungarians, including their star player and captain Dominik Szoboszlai, were lacklustre and made numerous errors.

Kwadwo Duah – author of the opening goal in the opening match of the Swiss team

In the 93rd minute, Breel Embolo sealed the match, scoring a third goal after a colossal error from the Hungarian side. This victory was the result of cohesive teamwork, demonstrating a high level of interaction and tactical discipline, as well as readiness for further challenges in the tournament. Despite some moments of carelessness, especially from the forwards, the overall level of play from the Reds was significantly higher than that of their opponents. After the match, Switzerland’s head coach remained composed:

“I want to thank the team and the staff. We have all worked together for this moment in front of fantastic fans. Today, everyone performed excellently, and in the first half, we played in a dominant manner. Thank you for the compliments, but nothing has been won yet,” said Yakin.

A positive note is not just the goal itself but how quickly the Swiss team’s main forward recovered from injury. Additionally, Denis Zakaria and Xherdan Shaqiri remain injured but were still included in the Euro 2024 squad despite their health issues.

Scotland form guide: D-L-L-W-D-L

Switzerland form guide: L-D-W-W-D-W

Scotland vs Switzerland Head-To-Head Record:

  • September 9, 1992: Switzerland 3 – 1 Scotland (FIFA World Cup);
  • September 8, 1993: Scotland 1 – 1 Switzerland (FIFA World Cup);
  • June 18, 1996: Scotland 1 – 0 Switzerland (UEFA EURO);
  • March 1, 2006: Scotland 1 – 3 Switzerland (International Friendly).

Scotland vs Switzerland Predicted XI:

Scotland’s possible starting lineup (3-4-2-1): Gunn; Hendry, Hanley, Tierney; Ralston, Gilmour, McTominay, Robertson; McGinn, Christie; Shankland.

Switzerland’s possible starting lineup (3-4-2-1): Sommer; Schar, Akanji, Rodriguez; Widmer, Xhaka, Freuler, Aebischer; Vargas, Ndoye; Duah.

Statistical preview of the match Scotland vs Switzerland:

  • The Scottish national team holds 39th place in the FIFA ranking of national squads, while the Swiss collective is ranked 19th.
  • Scotland’s First XI average age is 28.5 years. Switzerland’s First XI average age is 29.9 years.
  • Ivan Kružliak has been appointed as the centre referee. The match official has already served six games this season, showing an average of 3 yellow cards and also whistles 23.5 fouls per game. 
  • The Scottish team, in a pair with the English team, became the co-author of the oldest international football match, which in 1872 ended in a 0:0 draw. 
  • For Scotland, this is only the fourth appearance of the team in the final part of the Euros and so far it has never managed to pass the group stage.
  • Switzerland are unbeaten in their last 5 matches.
  • Switzerland conceded an average of 0.40 goals per game and scored an average of 1.80 goals per game in their last 5 games.
  • In the last 5 games, Scotland conceded an average of 2.40 goals per game and scored an average of 1.00 goals per game.
  • In the last five meetings, Scotland has had three defeats.
  • The Swiss national team scored at least two goals in five of the last eight head-to-head meetings with Scotland. 

What has been said before the match:

Steve Clarke, ahead of the game with Switzerland, emphasized the importance of resilience and response in the face of criticism and defeat:

“When you lose a game 5:1, and I have been in this a long time, you have to take all the criticism that comes. You have to respond. The good thing for me is, I have been in this position before. I have always responded pretty well. The players have always responded pretty well.”

“We believe in ourselves. There is no danger of that not being the case. We know it was a bad night. We have to accept the criticism that comes our way but we have to try to put it right.”

“Sometimes it is difficult to explain to people who aren’t involved in professional football. The players have to be resilient because it is a game, especially club football, of emotions. You can have a terrible result on a Saturday and have to be bouncing back, ready to go on a Tuesday or a Wednesday night. So it’s a rollercoaster of emotions.”

“It’s the same here. They understand they have let everybody down. They are disappointed. But they know they have to be ready and up for the next game because that’s the nature of being involved in football. I am always confident in my players and I am confident in myself.”

Scotland’s goalie Angus Gunn reflected on the recent match against Germany and looking ahead to the next test against Switzerland:

“Obviously after a result like that, it’s difficult to see the positives but a few days on, you look back at how far we’ve come and how well we did to qualify and you have to take belief from that.”

“Going into the last two games, obviously we’ve played against a pot one team now already, that’s out of the way so we’ve got to target two wins and that will get us through the group. We will have reached our target.”

“Obviously Switzerland got a positive result in their first game as well so it’s going to be difficult but we know what we have to do. We will be preparing over the next few days looking towards that and we’ll look to give a good account of ourselves.”

Granit Xhaka, the captain of the Switzerland national team, expressed his satisfaction with their performance following their victory:

“It was extremely important to start with a win. The first half was very strong, the second half was just as good, but we needed to do more. Overall, the victory is well deserved. It was exactly that We have trained very intensively throughout the preparation, you can see it in the players. We have a good bench and today we saw how much we need everyone and today we made a good move, got a chance and took it. He’s a great kid – very nice, very relaxed and cool in front of goal. We’re delighted to have him with us.”

Scotland vs Switzerland Prediction:

The opponents approached their Euro 2024 debut in rather unimpressive conditions, although their first matches at the tournament signalled a significant difference in their current form. The more seasoned and sophisticated Crusaders reaffirmed their status by outclassing the Hungarians 3-1 without a hitch. They dominated the game and showed good attacking play, which is supported by such indicators as attempts (6 vs 15), Field Tilt (37.7% – 62.3%) and touches in the opponent’s box (16 – 42). 

On the other hand, the Tartan Army suffered a disappointment, failing to deliver any worthy resistance to the Germans (1:5). Outnumbered for half of the match, the Blues were particularly downbeat in attack (0.02 xG), with only Antonio Rüdiger’s wrong-direction stunner helping them to register a goal. Such a cold shower from the Germans will surely help Kieran Tierney and his teammates to come to their senses and pull themselves together, while the coaching staff is certain to make necessary urgent improvements. 

The tendency that the Swiss rarely manage to subvert the opponent’s game plan comes to Steve Clarke’s fruition. Murat Yakin’s charges are lacking reliability and stability in defence: over the past year, they have registered just one clean sheet at the official level against modest Andorra. Goals have been exchanged in six of the Crusaders’ seven previous matches at the European Championship. Meanwhile, the Tartan Army have left the field without a goal only once in nine previous official encounters. They have scored at least twice in seven of those appearances.

Adding context is the fact that the opponents will already know the result of the parallel game in the quartet. In case of a probable defeat for the Hungarians, the Tartan Army will have a chance to qualify for the playoffs even with two defeats, they only need to beat Hungary in the third round. Such a scenario also adds incentive to the Red Crosses, as if they manage to overcome the Blues, they will settle the matter of advancing out of the group reasonably early, which allows them to rotate the squad before the playoffs.

The opponents have little reason to be cautious and play for a draw in the upcoming match, although it is unlikely that either side will be willing to open up too much. Scotland will be playing second fiddle, but it is unlikely that Clarke will opt to park a bus and protect the goal difference as it is already negative after the crushing defeat in the first round. With only 4 of the 6 third-placed teams having a chance to qualify for the Euro 2024 ⅛ finals, it makes sense for the nominal hosts to go for the goals and victory. The Scots are undoubtedly inferior in terms of class, but they are capable of surprising. The second round of Euro qualifiers, when the Blues beat the Spaniards (2:0) is an example of that. Not to mention, Scotland’s flank players don’t look any worse than the Swiss players. If the Tartan Army will be patient and disciplined in defence, sooner or later they will find a way to trouble Yann Sommer.

Historically, Scotland and Switzerland play spiritedly: in the previous seven head-to-head encounters, they have scored 22 goals (3.14 per game on average), and in six of them they exchanged goals (86%). Another trend also hints that the match could be eventful: in the opening round of Euro 2024, Group A delighted with an abundance of goals, with both matches seeing a total of over 2.5, while in each both teams have managed to net. The upcoming clash between rivals who regularly find chances at opposition gates, but often allow chances at their own, will see a similar scenario. 

Parimatch News staff prediction:

We say: Both teams will score and the match total will be less than 4.5 – Yes.

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