As the sun rises on the 20th of June, 2023, the world of football will be eagerly watching the clash between Scotland and Georgia. The Group A leaders, Scotland, are set to host the second-place Georgia in a match that could potentially reshape the landscape of the 2024 European qualifying campaign.
The Stakes are High
Scotland has been on a winning streak, having secured full points from their three qualifiers so far. This has given them a five-point lead over Georgia. However, Georgia, with a game in hand, could potentially narrow this lead to just two points. With Spain and Norway both off to slow starts, this fixture could be a significant step towards a possible top two finish for these nations.
The Teams: Form and Strategy
Scotland, led by Steve Clarke, has been on a roll, having won all three of their qualifiers so far. They’ve recorded victories over Cyprus, Spain, and Norway. They now head to Hampden Park for the first time since their superlative 2-0 win over the Spanish three months ago. They’ve won seven of their last ten, including a draw and two losses.
On the other hand, Georgia has been equally impressive. They’re coming off a 2-1 away win over Cyprus, which saw them net the winner with just six minutes of regulation time remaining. It was their first three points of the qualifying campaign following a 1-1 home draw with Norway in the opener. Georgia is now on a run of 11 wins over their last 15 fixtures – a stretch which also includes only one defeat over the last 20 months.
The Lineups: Predicted Last Starting 11
Scotland’s defense, tasked with slowing down both Erling Haaland and Martin Odegaard, performed admirably. We are likely to see a similar back three of Kieren Tierney, Jack Hendry, and Ryan Porteous take to the field. Andrew Robertson and Aaron Hickey will provide the width in the wing-back positions. One change that Clarke might opt for is to hand a start to Saturday’s hero Kenny McClean who scored the winner after coming onto the pitch in the 79th minute. Lyndon Dykes is expected to retain his role up top after scoring the first goal against Norway.
Georgia, on the other hand, has a good bit of attacking talent. All eyes will be on Khvicha Kvaratskhelia. Napoli’s scintillating number 77 struck for 12 goals and chipped in 10 assists in Gli Azzurri’s Scudetto-winning season. He’ll pair FC Metz’s promising striker Georges Mikautadze, who netted the opening goal in Georgia’s win over Cyprus, up top in the 3-5-2 formation.
The Prediction: A Clash of Titans
Scotland are the oddsmakers’ favorites to walk away with the three points, and it’s hard to argue against that given their superb start to the qualifiers. However, we believe the books are slightly off by underestimating the attacking potential of this Georgia team. They have more than enough talent to find the net against Scotland and will prove to be tough opponents to beat despite their 77th world FIFA ranking. At well above even money, there is a good bit of value to be had in backing both teams to get on the scoresheet. Our Scotland vs Georgia prediction is for both teams to score.
Conclusion: A Game Not to Miss
This match promises to be an exciting encounter, with both teams having a lot to play for. The stakes are high, and the players are ready to give their all on the pitch.