Inside Scotland's Euro 2024 opponents: Misfiring hosts Germany, resilient Switzerland and why Hungary are big danger
Scotland will be involved in the tournament’s curtain-raiser, against the Germans at the Allianz Arena on Friday, June 14 at 8pm BST. A match against the Swiss comes next in Cologne on Wednesday, June 19 before the final pool match against Hungary on Sunday, June 23.
There was never the prospect of an easy group for Scotland and we give you the lowdown on each of Scotland’s opponents.
Germany (world ranking 16): The hosts did not have to qualify for the tournament – which is probably a good thing given their recent travails. After failing to get out of their group for a second successive World Cup in 2022, friendly defeats by Belgium, Poland, Colombia and Japan cost manager Hansi Flick his job earlier this year. Julian Nagelsmann, formerly of Bayern Munich, has since come in but recent results have not been much better, drawing with Mexico and then losing to Turkey and Austria last month. That form had made the Germans many people’s Pot 1 pick, but there are still six months to go until the tournament and Nagelsmann will no doubt eke improvement out of a squad that contains top-quality players such as Kai Havertz, Florian Wirtz, Leroy Sane, Jamal Musiala and Serge Gnabry. Scotland faced the Germans in Euro 92, losing 2-0 to the eventual runners-up, and the most recent meeting was 3-2 win for the Germans at Hampden in 2015.
Switzerland (world ranking 18): Scotland’s second match will be against the Swiss, who have only won one of their last seven matches. On the flipside, they have only lost one and rarely lose to teams ranked beneath them. Murat Yakin’s men lost a final-day shoot-out with Romania in Group I to mean that they finished runners-up and dropped into Pot 4 for the draw. There is a belief that the current Swiss squad peaked at the last World Cup, with a number of their star players approaching the twilight of their international careers, such as Xerdan Shaqiri and Grant Xhaka. The onus falls on the next generation, such as highly-regarded AC Milan striker Noah Okofor, to carry the torch. Scotland defeated Switzerland 1-0 at Euro 96. Ally McCoist finding the net, and the last meeting between the two came way back in 2006, with the Swiss winning 3-1 at Hampden.
Hungary (world ranking 27): Scotland’s last match will be against a tenacious Hungarian team that has not lost since September 2022, 12 matches ago. They topped a qualification group including Serbia, Montenegro and Bulgaria and last year thumped England 4-0 away from home. Managed by Italian coach Marco Rossi, their star player is undoubtedly Liverpool playmaker Dominik Szoboszlai and are a team built on organisation, spirit and determination. Scotland have never played the Hungarians in a tournament and the last meeting between the two nations came in 2018, when Matt Phillips scored in a 1-0 friendly victory. With third place in the group potentially offering passage to last 16, their next rendezvous in Stuttgart is likely to be tasty.