2018 FIFA World Cup qualification draw
Saturday 25 July
St Petersburg, Russia
Ahead of Saturday’s 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification draw we’ve taken a look back at Scotland’s history in the draw. Who do we meet the most? What would a 'Group of Death' look like? And how likely is a draw against one of the Home Nations?
Scotland have been confirmed in Pot 3 for the draw alongside Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, Sweden, Albania, Northern Ireland, Serbia and Greece. Seven groups of six teams and two groups of five teams will be drawn in St Petersburg.
Scotland have played 45 of the 54 current UEFA member countries in World Cup or European Championship qualifying groups. The nine teams we have yet to meet at the qualifying stage are Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Montenegro, Turkey & Slovakia (although we have been paired with Czechslovakia three-times).
Of the 45 countries we’ve been drawn against previously there’s one country that has popped up more than any other - Belgium. We’ve shared a group with the Red Devils on SIX separate occasions, most recently in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, with a record of two wins, two draws and eight defeats. As the third-ranked country in the world Belgium will be in Pot 1 for the draw, so there’s every chance we could meet for a record seventh time.
As for quirks in the draw, we drew Denmark three times in a row in the 1970’s and had both Lithuania and Faroe Islands in three consecutive Euro qualifying groups between 2000 and 2008. So don't be so quick to rule out a group with Germany, Republic of Ireland and Georgia just yet!
THE GROUP OF DEATH
Each pot is divided in accordance with the FIFA World rankings, with Pot 1 made up of the top 9 ranked teams in Europe. If Scotland were to draw the top ranked side from each corresponding pot we would play:
If Saturday’s draw was to pair us with the lowest rank country from each pot we’d be in a group with:
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Scotland do have a history of being drawn in the so-called 'Group of Death'. We have been paired against the eventual World Cup winners once (Italy 2006) and the eventual runners-up on three occasions (Czechslovakia in 1962, Italy in 1994, Netherlands in 2010). Our last three Euro Qualifying groups have contained the reigning World Champions (Italy 2008, Spain 2012, Germany 2016) and for Euro 2008 qualification we were paired with BOTH 2006 World Cup finalists.
Although we can’t play Northern Ireland (they’re in the same pot) England and Wales are both in pot 1 – giving us a 22% chance of drawing either country. Scotland have played England just once in the 1950 World Cup qualifiers and also met at the Euro 2000 play-off stage. Wales have been drawn alongside us on four separate occasions.
Does Brussels beckon again? Or is a trip to London on the cards? Tell us who you think will be in our World Cup 2018 qualification group via Twitter and you could win two tickets to the Euro qualifier between Scotland and Germany on September 7. Just tweet your guess to @scottishfa along with the hashtag #GuessTheGroup