Scotland look to pull off a big upset and beat Spain for the first time since 1984 as the two sides meet in a Euro 2024 qualifier tonight at Hampden Park. It’s more than ten years since they last faced off, with Spain winning both matches on their way to qualifying for Euro 2012 and ultimately lifting the trophy.
Steve Clarke’s side have got their qualifying campaign this time off to a successful start, beating Cyprus 3-0 in their opening Group A match. Scott McTominay scored twice late on in that win, and will be hoping that’s good enough for him to start tonight.
As for Spain, they cruised past Norway last time out and it is now nine years since they last lost a European qualifying match. They are huge favourites to top the group once again, and anything other than a win in Glasgow would be a big shock. Follow all the action with Standard Sport’s LIVE blog below!
Spain team news
Starting XI: Kepa, Porro, Garcia, Martinez, Gaya, Rodri, Merino, Ceballos, Oyarzabal, Joselu, Pino.
Subs: Sanchez, Rayo, Nacho, Laporte, Morata, Ruiz, Gavi, Iglesias, Aspas, Williams, Carvajal, Zubimendi.
Scotland team news
Starting XI: Gunn, Porteous, Hanley, Tierney, Hickey, McGregor, McTominay, McGinn, Robertson, Christie, Dykes.
Subs: Kelly, Clark, Patterson, Shankland, Hyam, Gilmour, Cooper, Armstrong, Ferguson, Brown, McLean, Jack.
Spain are unbeaten in their last 19 European Championship qualifiers, a run that stretches back to a defeat to Slovakia in 2014.
Not sure Scotland will be discussing that record pre-match…
“We need to be positive”
Clarke: Pressure is not off
Scotland topped their Nations League group and so have guaranteed themselves at least a play-off tie to reach next summer’s Euros in Germany.
However, Steve Clarke has told his players to forget that and put their full focus on qualifying directly through Group A.
He said: “What playoff? We want to qualify direct. That’s my answer to the question. We do not speak about the playoff.
“I have not spoken to the players about the playoff. I just want to go through the group. That’s the mentality. So we have to go with that mentality. I know what you are saying, it gives you the ‘freedom’ to go and play because if you mess up, but there’s no point thinking about the playoff.
“It does not take any pressure off this game because we want to qualify out of the group stage.”
And on the Spanish side…
A similar story for Spain too, winning 3-0 against Norway but that result wasn’t really secured until the final ten minutes.
Dani Olmo put them in front, before Joselu, Spain’s oldest debutant since 2006 at the age off 33, was introduced and scored twice in a minute. Not a bad way to get up and running for your country.
Last time out
It wasn’t always entirely convincing, but Scotland got the job done comfortably enough against Cyprus.
The match was still in the balance heading into the final five minutes or so, but Scott McTominay came off the bench to net a late brace and seal the three points.
At the rate Manchester United’s midfielders are falling at the moment, he’ll be a one-man midfield for Erik ten Hag’s side when he returns to his club…
The two last played each other when drawn in the same Euro 2012 qualifying group, with Spain winning both matches and ultimately going on to win the tournament. Scotland last beat Spain in 1984.
Scotland wins: 3
Spain wins: 6
Spain appear almost certain to top the group, leaving Scotland to battle with Georgia, Norway and Cyprus for second place and with it a spot at next summer’s European Championship in Germany.
This then is almost a free hit for Scotland, with any sort of positive result a bonus, but they are unlikely to get it against a Spanish side that have not lost a Euros qualifier for nine years.
Spain to win, 3-1.
Spain team news
Spain did not appear to suffer any injury problems in their win over Norway, meaning they could name a very similar side.
33-year-old Joselu scored twice in a minute in that match after coming off the bench on his debut, but is expected to be among the substitutes again as new captain Alvaro Morata keeps his place.
Predicted Spain XI: Kepa; Carvajal, Nacho, Laporte, Balde; Fabian, Rodri, Merino; Olmo, Morata, Gavi.