Scotland to be involved in incredibly complex Euro 2020 qualifying draw

Scotland are set to be involved in the most complicated draw in world football history on Sunday in Dublin for Euro 2020.
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Alex McLeish’s side will be in Pot Three with nine other countries for the draw for the European Championships as they attempt to end what will be a 22-year absence from qualifying for a major tournament.

But European football’s governing bosses have inserted so many clauses and sub-plots in to the draw that it could very well descend into farce.

Twelve different nations will host Euro 2020. Picture: AFP/GettyTwelve different nations will host Euro 2020. Picture: AFP/Getty
Twelve different nations will host Euro 2020. Picture: AFP/Getty
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Although 55 entrants will eventually be drawn into five groups of six and five groups of five, that’s the very basics.

Scotland are one of the 12 host nations for Euro 2020, along with Azerbaijan, Denmark, England, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Holland, Ireland, Romania, Russia and Spain and UEFA will only allow up to two of those countries to be in the same group.

Political restrictions will prevent Gibraltar and Spain, Bosnia and Kosovo, Kosovo and Serbia, Russia and Ukraine, and Armenia and Azerbaijan being drawn in the same section.

In addition, UEFA have introduced two new rules that will further confuse the course of the draw - weather and travel restrictions.

A maximum of two countries from Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus can be drawn in the same group.

And Finland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands cannot host qualifiers in March or November due to weather.

UEFA will also alter groups due to travel restrictions. Only one country from Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Andorra, France, Iceland, Malta, Portugal and Spain can be paired with Kazakhstan. Azerbaijan and Iceland also have restrictions, which would mean countries being placed in different pots again.

In addition, the four teams in the Nations League pot - England, Portugal, Switzerland and Holland - will be drawn into the first position in Groups A-D to ensure they each have two dates free to play the Nations League Finals in June.

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Scotland at least have the insurance policy of being in the play-off semi-finals of the Nations League where they are scheduled to play Finland at Hampden in March 2020, if both nations don’t qualify for the Finals by the usual qualifying group method.