Euro 2020: Scotland in with a shout of qualifying but they must start with a win

Scotland Euro 2020
After 23 long years Scotland are back and ready to boogie on the big stage
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More than two decades of hurt is at an end and the Tartan Army are back. Freely admitting to being patriotic in his view, Betfair's Frankie Monkhouse explains why he believes Scotland can qualify...

"Back Scotland to finish as runners up in Group D, and you’ll enjoy odds of 4."

Guess who's back

After seeing a generation of talented players miss out on the chance to represent their country at a major international tournament, Scotland is back in business. Steve Clarke's side slipped into Euro 2020 through the backdoor, using the Nations League route to end their drought.

Scotland's last appearance on the world stage was at France in 1998 when a 1-1 draw with Norway was sandwiched between defeats to Brazil and Morocco. What followed was more than two decades of hurt for fans, but the young, hungry and ambitious squad assembled for their return won't dwell on the past.

The Scots are back dining at the head table, and on Monday 14 June at 14:00, they'll be joined by a Tartan Army that will be in full voice despite the reduced numbers due to COVID-19 restrictions. How will Scotland fare in this long-awaited comeback? There's value to be had in the betting if you predict success.

Fans take heart from the stats

Scotland have been drawn in Group D alongside England, the Czech Republic and Croatia. A meeting with the Auld Enemy at Wembley is the standout fixture of those three games, but it's how Clarke's men do against the other two that will determine if they make history and qualify for the knockout stages of the Euros.

The stats give fans reason to be confident with Scotland beating the Czech Republic home and away in the Nations League only last year. They haven't suffered defeat to their opponents for the opening group game since 2010, a run of four games. In that time, we've seen the pair serve up a thrilling 2-2 draw before the Scots embarked on a three-game winning run. Continuing that purple patch and getting off to a winning start is crucial.

On matchday three of the group Scotland play Croatia, and followers hope the team's chance remain live heading into that meeting in Glasgow. The nations have met five times previously, and Croatia have never recorded a win over Scotland, with the stats showing three draws and two wins for the locals. They've beaten Croatia in each of their last two games and have done so without conceding a goal.

3/1 to finish as runners up

If the dark blues can take four or five points from a possible nine, that should be enough to see them coast through to the latter stages. A result against England at Wembley would be the icing on the cake but beating Gareth Southgate's team on their patch is a big ask. Not impossible, of course, but the visitors would have to be at their best. The rivals did draw 2-2 at Hampden last time when Scotland were unlucky not to score a 42nd win over England.

The current betting on the Betfair Sportsbook has Scotland priced at 1.91 to qualify from the group or 12 outsiders to win the pool. The latter seems harsh. Back Scotland to finish as runners up in Group D, and you'll enjoy odds of 4. That price will tumble if they get off to a winning start.

Looking beyond the all-important group stages and there are plenty of ways to support Scotland this summer. The Betfair traders have pushed the boat out to allow members an opportunity to enjoy the Euros with a wide range of specials available.

Adams value to top score

You can back Scotland without predicting how far they'll go in the competition or even how they'll perform in matches. The goals market makes for interesting reading, and you can predict the number of goals Scotland will score and the team's top scorer.

Over 3.5 competition goals for Scotland is 2.38, or if you expect a successful campaign, you can try your luck on over 5.5 goals at 5.5. That market covers total goals scored, so the longer they are in the competition, the better chance you'll have of landing your overs bet.

Who will be the player to fire the Tartan Army to victory? The leading Scotland scorer at Euro 2020 makes for fascinating reading. Lyndon Dykes is 4.5 favourite to find the net more times than any other Scotsman, and he sits just ahead of John McGinn and Che Adams at 5.5. The value bet could be in taking a chance on Stuart Armstrong at 11 on the sportsbook.

Could they go all the way?

It's been 22 years in the making to reach the Euros again, with another 12 months waiting for the tournament to get the green light. Could Scotland do it? Could they go all the way? It's a longshot, of course, but the Tartan Army are nothing if not optimistic and that 2-2 friendly draw against Holland recently showed what the team are capable of.

Scotland are available at odds of 251 to win Euro 2020. That's a little bigger than expected, and the Czech Republic are half that price. That could tempt supporters into backing Scotland outright then following the cash-out if Clarke's men get through the group.

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