Scotland World Cup Qualifying group: Who stands in our way

Scotland’s fixture list in full as they seek to qualify for the 2014 World Cup. Sitting at number 46 in the world rankings, some may not be overly-optimistic - but others may just fancy our chances as outsiders. So who stands in the way, and could this be our year?

• Serbia, Home

Saturday 8 September 2012

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In what is the only Saturday fixture on Scotland’s qualifying list, Serbia come calling at Hampden.

With the former Yugoslavian side currently ranked 36 in the world table, Scotland will face a tough struggle to take points away from this one. Craig Levein will be looking to a revitalised squad, who will hopefully have gained some confidence after victory over Australia, to gain the upper hand.

• Macedonia, Home

Tuesday 11 September 2012:

With the recent sacking of John Toshack, 102-ranked Macedonia are likely to find themselves in a period of upheaval and uncertainty. Clearly the Scots are relishing home advantage for this one. The lack of leadership could go heavily in Scotland’s favour.

• Wales, Away

Friday 12 October 2012

Historically Scotland have always come away better off after a clash with Wales. However, Wales currently sit 37th in the world rankings and despite the fact that their recent display against Bosnia wasn’t their finest, they could still be a threat. However, with manager Chris Coleman only having just played his first game, Scotland may hope to catch out a rebuilding squad and use it to their advantage.

• Belgium, Away

Tuesday 16 October 2012

Scotland haven’t met Belgium since 2001, when Bart Goor’s injury time goal sealed a painful away loss. The Belgians appear to be stronger at home, having only recently embarrassed the Netherlands 4-2 in Brussels. Scotland will be hoping Dries Mertens doesn’t feel like repeating his heroics from the Dutch encounter.

• Wales

Home Friday 22 March 2013

The chance to tackle the Welsh on home soil is an exciting prospect. The Welsh will be looking to Gareth Bale to make things happen and silence the Hampden crowd.

• Serbia, Away

Tuesday 26 March 2013

Scotland will face a fierce match in Belgrade. Aleksandar Kolarov and Zdravko Kuzmanovic severely tested the Republic of Ireland in a recent friendly, and the Scots would do well to keep an eye on them.

• Croatia, Away

Friday 7 June 2013

This is the fixtures than makes fans the most nervous. Croatia are one of the world’s top sides, and currently ranked 9th. Their recent 4-2 loss to Switzerland may have shown where the cracks are but the Croatians will be looking to re-establish themselves and it could happen at Scotland’s expense.

• Belgium, Home

Friday 6 September 2013

The Scottish home crowd can really make a difference here. While the Scots are the higher-ranked team, Belgium are an improving side, and have been known for the odd surprise. If Scotland can play smart, confident football, then they could well come away with the win.

• Macedonia, Away

Tuesday 10 September 2013

Macedonia have crossed Scotland’s path twice in the last four years. Scotland’s 2008 1-0 loss in Skopje was avenged a year later with a 2-0 triumph at Hampden. The Scots will hopefully learn a few lessons about Macedonia during the home leg which will come in handy for this away clash.

• Croatia, Home

Tuesday 15 October 2013

The final fixture of the list sees the impressive Croatia come to Scotland. Traditionally, it’s not a proper qualifying round unless Scotland’s chances come down to the final match, often relying on a win along with a positive result elsewhere in the group in order to get through. If this tradition upholds, then this last match could prove to be a heartbreaker.