UEFA Euro 2024: Scotland’s “do or die” battle ends in heartbreak

by Lorraine Williamson
Euro 2024 Scotland´s final game

The Euro 2024 competition has been an amazing journey, filled with unexpected twists and unforgettable moments. For Scotland, the dream of advancing to the knockout stages was shattered in a dramatic and heart-wrenching fashion. Needing not only a win against Hungary but also a favourable result in the Germany-Switzerland match, the Scots faced a night of high tension and ultimate despair at the Stuttgart Arena on Sunday.

Scotland vs. Hungary: A battle for survival

The atmosphere was charged from the outset, with Scotland knowing that only a win would keep their hopes alive. The match against Hungary was tense and furious, a true do-or-die scenario. Scotland’s goalkeeper, Angus Gunn, showcased his shot-stopping prowess with several crucial saves, keeping the Tartan Army’s dreams afloat. However, it was Hungary’s Barnabas Varga who delivered the decisive blow.

In the 69th minute, Hungary’s Dominik Szoboszlai delivered a dangerous free kick into the box. Gunn, in his attempt to punch the ball clear, collided with both his teammate Ralston and Varga. The collision left Varga on the ground, prompting immediate concern. Medics rushed onto the field, creating a protective wall around the stricken player as they attended to him. The incident caused a significant delay, with some players and officials expressing frustration and upset at the extended stoppage time.

Despite the brave efforts of the Scottish side, Hungary managed to hold on to their slender 1-0 lead, courtesy of Szoboszlai’s precise set-piece delivery. Varga’s injury overshadowed the victory, with the forward being stretchered off amid worried faces from both teams.

Germany vs. Switzerland: A late twist

Scotland’s fate was not just in their own hands; they also relied on Germany to secure a win against Switzerland. The German side needed to win by a margin to help Scotland advance. However, the match in Berlin took an unexpected turn. After a tense 90 minutes, Germany managed to score an equaliser in stoppage time, ending the game in a 1-1 draw. This result dashed Scotland’s hopes, making their own efforts against Hungary insufficient.

The Tartan Army’s German adventure

Despite the disappointing end to their Euro 2024 campaign, Scottish fans left a lasting impression on their German hosts. The Tartan Army, known for their passionate and friendly demeanor, won the hearts of locals. From helping a wheelchair-bound lady cross the road with a protective umbrella to including Germans in a spirited street version of the conga, the Scots spread joy wherever they went. The soulful sounds of bagpipes echoed through the streets, creating a unique and unforgettable atmosphere. The German hosts expressed their admiration and reluctance to see the Tartan Army depart.

Spain’s youthful surge

In another key match, Spain faced Albania with a heavily rotated squad. Resting most of their first-team players after a hard-fought victory against Italy, Spain showcased the depth of their talent pool. Although he rested in the game against Albania, sixteen-year-old sensation Lamine Yamal continued to impress, bringing a fresh dynamism to the first team. Ferran Torres scored the only goal of the match, securing Spain’s unbeaten run and propelling them to the next round. Torres was also “player of the match”

England vs. Slovenia: A tense stalemate

England’s final group stage game against Slovenia ended in a goalless draw, a result that keeps both teams in the competition. Despite dominating possession early on, England struggled to break down Slovenia’s defense. Just after the 20-minute mark, Bukayo Saka found the back of the net, only for the goal to be ruled out for offside. The first half was disappointing and somewhat boring, with neither side able to gain the upper hand.

The second half continued in a similar vein, with both teams unable to find a breakthrough. The match ended 0-0, with England and Slovenia each claiming a point. In the other group match, Denmark and Serbia also played out a 0-0 draw. This means England tops the group, progressing to the knockout stages alongside Slovenia.

Looking ahead: The final 16

The last of the group stage matches are being played today, after which the final 16 teams will be confirmed. Both England and Spain will take the field again on Sunday, facing opponents yet to be determined. As the competition advances to the knockout stages, fans will either be glued to the screens or continue their journey around Germany.

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