World Cup qualifying draw
Clarke strikes cautious note after favourable draw
Caution: Steve Clarke (pic: SNS Group)
Scotland boss Steve Clarke has warned his players “don’t get carried away” after a favourable World Cup qualifying draw.
The Scots have been grouped with top seeds Denmark, Austria, Israel, Faroe Islands and Moldova in their quest to reach the finals in Qatar in 2022.
Having already qualified for the European Championships next summer, a first major finals since 1998, squad confidence is high.
Clarke, though, knows his players have to keep improving if they are to make it back-to-back qualifications for major tournaments.
“The draw is decent but I’m sure that Denmark, Austria and everyone in the group are looking at it thinking it’s a decent group,” he said.
“It’s always going to be tough. We have to keep improving, keep working hard, don’t get carried away. When you go into any campaign you want to finish as high as you possibly can and that’s what we aim to do.
“I think the fact we have managed to break the hoodoo and qualify for a tournament that we can all look forward to in the summer is great, but I tend to look at the last two games and I’m a little disappointed that we finished with two defeats because we had been on such a good run going into the match against Serbia.
“All we can do now is try to start a winning run in March. Hopefully, the fixtures are kind to us, we get a good start in the group and we can look forward to a good World Cup qualifying campaign.”
The qualifiers kick-off in March, with the finals in Qatar in November 2022.
Fifty-five European countries will begin the journey to Qatar, with 13 spots available. There are ten qualifying groups with only the group winners guaranteed to make it through.
Group A: Portugal, Serbia, Republic of Ireland, Luxembourg, Azerbaijan.
Group C: Italy, Switzerland, Northern Ireland, Bulgaria, Lithuania.
Group E: Belgium, Wales, Czech Republic, Belarus, Estonia.
Group F: Denmark, Austria, Scotland, Israel, Faroe Islands, Moldova.
Group I: England, Poland, Hungary, Albania, Andorra, San Marino.