Norway could be without key players
Scotland v Norway
Sunday 19 November, 19:45
Live on ViaPlay Sports 1
Jubilant Scots still have work to do
Scotland have been outstanding in this Euro 2024 qualifying group, beating Spain at Hampden Park on a famous night, and qualifying for the finals in Germany with room to spare. However, Scotland could make life easier for themselves at the tournament if they can win this final qualifier against Norway by a handsome margin.
Scotland could still pip Spain to top spot in the group, although with La Roja set to play their final home game against Georgia and only needing a point to nail down first place, that seems unlikely. A better route to a better draw would be for Scotland to beat Norway by two clear goals. That would see them finish above Austria as the best runners-up (Belgium are expected to beat Azerbaijan and win that group, and Austria have now played all of their games).
If Scotland do indeed finish as the best runners-up in qualifying, that would secure them a place in Pot 2, which would make life a lot easier in Germany and give Steve Clarke's side a great chance of making the knockout phase.
Scotland showed admirable fighting spirit in Tblisi on Thursday night, as they twice bounced back from conceding goals to Napoli superstar Kvicha Kvaratskhelia, grabbing a 2-2 draw with a last-gasp equaliser from Hearts' Lawrence Shankland.
It means that Scotland's only reverse in this tournament was a perfectly reasonable 2-0 defeat in Spain against the likely group winners.
Scott McTominay's transformation from midfield battler to goal machine for club and country has been really quite something in these qualifiers. The Manchester United player has fired in seven international goals in the calendar year, including a leveller against Georgia. For context, only Denis Law and Colin Stein have scored more goals in a single year for Scotland.
Zander Clark hopes to keep his place in goal, and it remains to be seen whether Shankland's heroics will net him a start. Although it was a bruising encounter in Tblisi (there were 32 fouls), Clarke has no fresh injury concerns.
Norway left to rue June collapse
This group could have turned out so differently if Norway hadn't let slip a 1-0 lead late on in what turned out to be a 2-1 defeat to Scotland in Oslo back in June. Norway were looking good until the 87th minute, as they led though an Erling Haaland penalty. They then conceded a scruffy equaliser to Lyndon Dykes, and Kenny McLean completed a remarkable comeback two minutes later.
Norway have been playing catch-up ever since, and their only hope of reaching the finals of Euro 2024 is through the play-offs, but they aren't guaranteed a place in those (places are decided via results in the Nations League). As well as losing to Scotland, Norway lost home and away to Spain without scoring, and they were also held to a 1-1 draw in Georgia.
To make matters worse, Norway could be without their two best players for this final qualifier. Erling Haaland aggravated an ankle injury in Thursday's friendly with the Faroe Islands, and with Manchester City's game against Liverpool looming, it remains to be seen whether he'll be risked here.
Skipper Martin Odegaard is definitely out - he has missed Arsenal's last three games with an unspecified injury and is expected to sit this one out.
In-form Scotland worth backing
Scotland know a big win could have a huge impact on their chances of doing well at Euro 2024, and they have won all three of their home qualifiers without conceding a single goal. Yes, a recent home defeat to the "Auld Enemy" England was a reality check, but they won't be facing that quality here.
Indeed, if Haaland and Odegaard are both missing, that robs Norway of their star power in attack, and even with those players they have still scored three goals fewer than Scotland in qualifying.
Scotland are motivated and full of confidence, and having won their last six competitive home games, I think the Match Odds price of 2.35/4 for a Scotland win is an attractive one.
McTominay can't be ignored
It's not exactly a left-field selection given his current form, but Scott McTominay's price of 13/53.60 on the Sportsbook to score at any time seems big to me. He is not only scoring for Scotland, but he bagged a dramatic match-winning brace for Manchester United against Brentford in October, and later that month he bagged a goal at Sheffield United.
Get more Euro 2024 Qualifying Tips here.