Preview: Scotland eye reaching knockout stage for 1st time as they meet Hungary at Euro 2024

AP , Sunday 23 Jun 2024

Scotland faces Hungary on Sunday in Stuttgart in their final Group A match. Both teams hope it’s not their last game at the European Championship. Scotland is third in the group. It followed up a 5-1 loss to Germany with a 1-1 draw against Switzerland. Hungary is last after losses to Switzerland and Germany. Kickoff is at 9 p.m. local time (1900 GMT). Here’s what to know about the match:

Switzerland s Dan Ndoye, background, tries to stop Scotland s Kieran Tierney during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. AP

Match facts

— Scotland is hoping to reach the knockout stage of a major tournament for the first time. It has faint hopes of finishing second in the group but would need to beat Hungary and hope that Switzerland loses to Germany and that there’s a significant swing in goal difference. That is the second tiebreaker if teams are level, after head-to-head.

— Both teams still have a chance of making the round of 16 as one of the four best-performing third-place teams. Hungary needs a win to keep its hopes alive, while Scotland could even do so if it avoids defeat.

— Scotland hasn’t won a match at the European Championship since it beat Switzerland in 1996.

— The teams have never met in a competitive fixture.

Team news

— Kieran Tierney’s tournament ended when the Scotland defender was stretchered off with a hamstring injury in Wednesday’s draw against Switzerland.

— Scotland defender Ryan Porteous serves the second of a two-match suspension after being sent off against Germany.

— Hungary has reported no injury concerns.

By the numbers

— The teams have met nine times — all friendlies — with Hungary winning four and Scotland three.

— Hungary has reached the knockout stage three times.

— After finishing third in 1964 and fourth eight years later, Hungary had to wait 44 years to reach another European Championship. It topped its group at Euro 2016 but lost to Belgium 4-0 in the round of 16. Hungary failed to advance in the last edition despite draws against France and Germany.

What they’re saying

“To get a result which leaves it in our hands going into the last game is where we wanted to be before coming into the tournament.” — Scotland defender Jack Hendry.

“We are confident but if we win, we will need a little help from above. It’s not enough for us to beat the Scots, but I hope that if we win, the football gods will help us.” — Hungary midfielder Ádám Nagy.

“The manager knows what these players are capable of and that’s what we want to do — go and create history. We think we’ve given ourselves a great opportunity and we know that we can take it.” — Scotland midfielder Kenny McLean.

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