Scotland’s futsal team has been drawn in Group F for the Preliminary Round of FIFA Futsal World Cup qualifying, marking the first step on the road to the finals in Lithuania in 2020.
Scott Chaplain’s side will travel to Bosnia-Herzegovina at the end of January for their preliminary round fixtures, with Scotland facing Turkey and Switzerland in addition to their hosts.
Having never participated on the biggest stage in world futsal, Scotland will aim to be one of nations heading to Lithuania in September 2020 to challenge for the world title.
However, with only six berths available to European nations, the qualifying campaign promises to be a tough one for Chaplain and his men.
Should Scotland emerge from their preliminary round group, they would then travel to Croatia in October 2019 as part of Group Seven in the Main Round draw, which was also made this afternoon in Nyon.
In addition to their hosts and the runners-up from Preliminary Round Group E, Scotland would have to overcome 2016 FIFA Futsal World Cup silver medallists Russia before progressing to the Elite Round – the final stage of qualifying prior to the finals tournament.
Chaplain and his side are only focusing on the first task at hand, though, one which the Scotland head coach is relishing.
“We’re really looking forward to it,” said Chaplain.
“It’s a difficult draw for us, there’s no doubt about that – Bosnia-Herzegovina, Turkey and Switzerland were all among the top three in their respective pots, and we’re still at a very early stage in our development.
“It’s a great challenge for us, though. We’ll definitely learn from playing these type of teams.
“It’s the next step on the journey for us, so it’s exciting to be involved. There are countries in the draw where futsal is a much more established part of the sporting scene, but the World Cup is a major incentive.
“It’ll be a new challenge for the majority of our players, going away and playing different countries outwith the Home Nations, but we’ve made massive progress in our league structure and coach education, for example, in recent years.
“This type of challenge can only improve us going forward.”