Euro 2020 not on the horizon for Scotland following humbling defeat to Belgium
It seemed to be business as usual for both the Scottish and the Belgium side when they met on Tuesday night. The Red Devils were their usual attacking and imaginative selves, while the Scots were, as usual, defending desperately against a better equipped opponent. As things stand, the Euro 2020 tournament looks a world away for the Tartan Army, following their 3-0 loss to Belgium.
Belgium give reassurances of their potential while Scotland fall short
This is, without a doubt, a golden time for Belgium football. The team did miss out on winning the World Cup in 2018. Instead, they finished third, which would have been unimaginable a few years earlier. Currently, the side are ranked number one in the FIFA World rankings, ahead of world champions France and Brazil.
Belgium's star studded cast wreaked havoc on the Scottish defense last night. Romelu Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard were particularly impressive, with the Manchester United striker managing to score a brace.
The Scotland national team, on the other hand, looked ready to fold from the word go. The defence worked furiously to keep a clean sheet. But when Lukaku finally scored in the dying stages of the first half, it surprised no one. From then onwards, it was a matter of keeping the floodgates from being open. Belgium recorded 25 shots, 11 of which were on target, while Scotland managed only two.
What are Scotland's chances of qualifying for the Euro 2020
Direct qualification from their group seems unlikely for Scotland. Only four games have been played, but Scotland are already lagging behind Belgium, Russia and even Kazakhstan. Only the top two teams qualify directly for the Euro 2020.
The Scots have one saving grace. Their good performance in the inaugural UEFA Nations League have gifted them better seeding and an automatic play-off spot. However, the play-off matches will include 16 teams, out of which only four will qualify for the Euro 2020. Against potential adversaries such as Sweden, Portugal and the Netherlands, the Tartan Army will certainly not enter as favorites.
Steve Clarke manages a team with good potential and plenty of spirit. In Andrew Robertson, they have a genuine star. John McGinn and Kenny McLean will be playing in the Premier League next season, and Callum McGregor has a resume which includes three domestic trebles with Celtic.
But versus Belgium, Scotland once again fell short against a tough opponent. For a team that have not qualified for a Euro since 1996 and a World Cup since 1998, hopes are not enough.