Braveheart. Clarke says its all or nothing for the Scots  

June 19 – Steve Clarke has insisted Scotland need to regroup and not play for a draw against Switzerland in their crunch Group A match at Euro 2024.

On the eve of Scotland’s most consequential match since their encounter with Morocco at the 1998 World Cup, Clarke said his side cannot take on the Swiss, who come into the game buoyed by their 3-1 victory over Hungary, aiming for a point.

“To go into the game thinking you only need a point is dangerous. We go there to win, to be as positive as we can and we see where that takes us. It is more about making sure we perform as well as we can and if we can do that I am pretty confident we can get something from the game,” he said.

“I was very impressed with the Swiss. I thought they were excellent, really good in the first half and then controlled the second half well and when they needed a late goal to take some pressure off they managed to do that as well.”

Clarke and Scotland travelled to Germany, riding the wave of their good qualification campaign and the enthusiasm of the Tartan Army, Scotland’s supporters, but in reality, the Scottish have just one win from their last ten outings.

In the tournament’s opening match, hosts Germany dismantled Clarke’s side with consummate ease, Toni Kroos pulling the strings from a deep position and youngsters Florian Wirtz and Jamal Musiala running rings around the Scottish defenders on the wings. The 5-1 defeat was a humbling reality check and Scotland have their backs against the wall against Switzerland.

“It is a big challenge, a good team, a lot of good players, very strong down the spine of the team, defend well, don’t give too much away and have a lot of pace up front,” said Clarke. “So we expect a difficult night.”

“For us, it is to regroup and go again. It’s that simple. It is about doing better, exactly that.”

Clarke added: “The players want to go back and play better and I think that is pretty standard when you play so poorly and let yourself down. We thought we were well prepared for Germany, obviously we weren’t. So this time I think it is better not to say too much and hopefully with our actions on the pitch we will show that we prepared well and a positive result would be lovely.”

In the last meeting between the two teams, Switzerland defeated Scotland 3-1 at Hampden Park in the run-up to the 2006 World Cup. The Swiss went on to reach the round of 16 of the tournament, hosted by Germany. History might well repeat itself.

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