Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Scotland's World Cup qualification hopes have been helped no end in the last two rounds of matches in the way that Scotland does best - they weren't playing!

The results of Saturday and tonight's matches in Group 9 have now left it looking like a two horse race between ourselves and Macedonia for the runners up place and a possible spot in the play offs.

Macedonia's 2-0 win at home to Iceland tonight has left them level on points with Scotland, but having played a game more, and it's really all in the Scots own hands now to clinch that second place.

When the draw was made for the qualifying group, not many would have expected the former Yugoslav republic to be our nearest challengers, but Norway and Iceland have performed really poorly so far in the qualifying campaign.

Scotland's next match, away to Norway on August 12th, is now crucial. A point would mean that we definitely finish above Iceland, and a win would see us definitely finish above the Norwegians.

Finishing second is still no guarantee of making the playoffs though, as only 8 of the 9 second placed teams will make those. Discounting the games against the lower sides in each group, will help Scotland if we can take 6 points from our games against Norway and Macedonia and anything against the Dutch would then be a bonus. With the Dutch having already secured qualification, it could work in our favour.

There are a few teams we could finish above in the play off race and as much as it pains me to say it, we could do with England continuing their fine form and doing us a favour in keeping their nearest rivals far behind.

We have to rely in Soctland doing their part in all of this of course and as we've seen so many times in the past, that's when we can see it all come undone!


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