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We must see surly, stinging Scotland in the Euros against Switzerland, but no more than four changes.



Teve Clarke attempted to put a tin lid on Germany’s 5-1 Euro 2024 opening-night defeat by hosting a surprise press conference over the weekend. The Munich post-mortem has been completed, and all attention now turns to Switzerland on Wednesday in Cologne.

Clarke cannot, of course, change history, nor can he halt the continual criticism of Scotland’s performance against Germany. Their performance is by far the lowest of any team so far in the tournament.

It has put Scotland in a predicament. Clarke’s pre-competition aim from the pool matchups was four points, thus a win against the Swiss is necessary, who began their own Group A campaign with a 3-1 victory against Hungary.
Many Swiss analysts believe their first-half performance against the Hungarians, which saw them lead 2-0 at halftime, was the greatest since Murat Yakin took over as Switzerland manager in 2021. That is not pleasant reading for those of a Scottish persuasion, emphasizing the struggle ahead for a morale-shattered team that has only beaten one other country in 10 games – Gibraltar.

Much of the attention is on how Scotland can improve its competitiveness versus the Swiss. In terms of mindset, Scotland appeared uneasy about the occasion that awaited them in Munich. This pairing is unique. They had faced Germany and the shame of losing so spectacularly in front of a global audience. Callum McGregor mentioned “embarrassment” in the Scottish camp, and it would be unsurprising to see a considerably more pugnacious, stinging Scotland in the early stages.

Scotland’s midfield showed little aggression against Germany, and more bite will be necessary against Switzerland. One important concern was the time allotted to the German playmakers to do their thing. Switzerland’s midfield has a comparable technical approach, albeit with a lower level of quality. Granit Xhaka, fresh from winning the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen, brings experience, balance, and guile. He anchors the Swiss, allowing the imaginative Remo Freuler to tug strings alongside him. Scotland must be competitive in that regard.

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