Scotland will play Italy and France in a friendly double-header as preparation for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, the Scottish FA has confirmed.
The French Football Federation revealed on Monday that Gordon Strachan’s side would provide a warm-up game for the Euro hosts in Metz on June 4, six days before the European Championships start.
Scotland will be based in Malta for a summer training camp and will also take on the Italians at Ta’ Qali National Stadium on May 29.
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Strachan is hoping the combination of a training camp and matches against high-calibre opposition will stand his squad in good stead when they return to Malta for the opening World Cup qualifier.
He told the Scottish FA’s official website: “It is imperative we are ready for the start of the World Cup qualifiers in September.
“While we would rather be playing France or Italy in the European Championships, we must prepare properly against two top-class teams who will be highly motivated ahead of the finals.
“Games like these will provide a focus for our players and the coaching staff.
“They also give us a chance to show that we are capable of competing in such company, as we did in the recent qualifiers against Germany and Poland.
“The camp in Malta has the additional benefit of allowing us to familiarise ourselves with the facilities before our opening match in September.”
Scotland will play the Czech Republic in the Letna Stadium on March 24 and Denmark at Hampden Park five days later, with Strachan selecting a different squad for each match.
He said: “Selecting two separate squads allows us to maximise opportunities for players to gain international game time, while minimising the time spent away from their clubs at this crunch time of the season.
“It is important we give some of our younger players - and those who have maybe not featured as regularly as they would have hoped - some more international experience.
“The opportunity will be there for them to show that they can make that step up and put themselves into contention for the matches in the summer: games that will naturally be treated with the respect and preparation of full competitive fixtures.”
Scotland’s match against Italy is scheduled to kick-off at 8.45pm local time (7.45pm GMT) and the France game at 9pm local time (8pm GMT). Both kick-off timings are subject to change.
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