Scotland launch their World Cup qualifying marketing campaign on Thursday after they host Austria at Hampden within the first of a triple header.
After Austria, Scotland are on their travels to play one more recreation towards common latest opponents Israel on 28 March earlier than it is again to Hampden to host Faroe Islands three days later.
The prize is a spot on the World Cup finals in Qatar ought to Steve Clarke’s aspect navigate their method via the qualifying course of.
However how does all of it work? Who do now we have to beat? And why can we not use the Nations League any extra to qualify?
Wait, I believed we certified for the European Championships?
We did, it wasn’t a dream. David Marshall actually did save that penalty towards Serbia and, regardless of being postponed by a 12 months, Euro 2020 will happen this summer time.
The change in dates have led to the bizarre state of affairs of Scotland taking part in in a significant finals in the midst of a qualification marketing campaign for an additional event. However contemplating Scotland have not been in a significant finals in any respect in 23 years then every little thing about this 12 months is uncommon.
Who’re we taking part in?
The final time Scotland performed Austria in a aggressive recreation, it was through the qualifying marketing campaign for the 1998 World Cup in France. It was the final time both aspect made it to a World Cup.
Head coach Franco Foda was susceptible to being with out 19 Germany-based gamers because of journey restrictions imposed by the Bundesliga due to the continued Covid-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, Germany has eliminated Nice Britain from a listing of nations requiring a 14-day quarantine, which means Austria’s gamers can journey to Scotland freely.
Denmark, the group’s prime seeds, haven’t performed Scotland in a aggressive match because the World Cup in 1986, a match the Danes gained 1-0 in Mexico.
In distinction, Clarke’s gamers have confronted Israel 5 occasions up to now two years, together with a penalty shootout victory to arrange that Euro 2020 play-off ultimate with Serbia. Faroe Islands and Moldova full the group, with all video games performed by the top of November.
What do we have to do to qualify? Can we not simply use the Nations League once more?
Reaching the World Cup is trickier than the Euros. This time, Scotland have to win the group to make sure automated qualification. That half is easy. Every little thing else, not a lot.
Ought to they end second, they’ll be part of 9 different runners-up within the play-offs, plus the 2 finest Nations League Group winners who have not completed within the prime two of their qualifying teams.
Scotland have already performed within the Nations League, ending second behind Czech Republic and forward of Israel and Slovakia. Subsequently, that route is not out there to Scotland and solely ending within the prime two of their World Cup qualifying group will do.
How does the play-off work?
It seems the times of a traditional dwelling and away play-off tie have been consigned to the previous.
The 12 groups reaching the play-offs go into three play-off paths. They’d play a semi-final and a ultimate, each over one leg with the house aspect drawn at random. The winners of the three finals win three golden tickets to the World Cup in Qatar.
These video games are because of happen in March 2022.
No matter occurs, do not e book break day work subsequent summer time
Beer gardens within the sunshine with a giant TV display projecting the soccer? Afraid that will not be occurring. As an alternative, it is a winter World Cup.
The opening recreation is because of be on 21 November 2022, with the ultimate on 18 December – every week earlier than Christmas.
The local weather in Qatar means it will possibly get as scorching as 50c in summer time, which is not conducive to groups taking part in soccer, or your common Tartan Military member attempting to get about in a heavy kilt. Winter in Qatar ought to be cooler, though it can nonetheless doubtless be over 30c.
The schedule will doubtless trigger havoc with home leagues, however absolutely we’re all used to that by now?