Scots ‘due a favourable draw’

Date published: Friday 24th July 2015 1:43

Strachan’s side have been placed in the third set of seeds for the draw, which takes place in St Petersburg, but that means the possibility of facing two of Europe’s leading nations.

France and Italy both missed out on being seeded in the first pot, which includes Europe’s eight leading teams in the FIFA World Ranking list – among them England and Wales.

Scotland’s qualifying group for Euro 2016 is among the toughest they could have been handed, including world champions Germany, Poland and the Republic of Ireland, and they are sitting in third place with four games remaining.

Strachan told the Scottish FA website: “I’ve never been one for hoping that we avoid this team or wishing that we draw that team. It’s disrespectful to the other nations and it’s also pointless – you can’t control names that come out of a glass bowl.

“What I would say is that, given the draws in recent campaigns we are due a favourable one.

“When you look at the campaign for the World Cup in 2014, Croatia were top seeds and we managed to beat them twice, which shows that we are more than capable of upsetting those seeded above us.

“The problem for us was that Belgium were third seeds behind Serbia, but by that point had blossomed into one of the best teams in Europe with the emergence of (Marouane) Fellaini, (Thibaut) Courtois, (Vincent) Kompany, (Eden) Hazard, (Christian) Benteke and (Romelu) Lukaku as top, top players.

“Then there was Wales, who were supposedly the weakest team in the group as sixth seeds but who have since gone on a remarkable journey helped in no small part by having an inspirational world-class player in Gareth Bale.

“The fact they are now a top seed is a credit to Chris Coleman and the work his players have done to improve.

“From our own point of view, I don’t think anyone would argue with the progress we have made so far in another tough group – in fact the toughest qualifying group in the European qualifiers.

“We have already shown we can compete against the world champions, Germany, and while we have a few big challenges ahead the experience will stand our players in good stead. I still firmly believe we can qualify and that we will qualify for the Euro 2016 finals in France and, more importantly, the players believe that, too.”

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