Scotland’s hopes of reaching Russia for the 2018 World Cup are back alive after a great 3-0 victory away to Lithuania and then a 2-0 win over Malta. Maximum points off their final two games and it’s very likely that Scotland will at least still be in the hunt for a chance to reach Russia via the runners-up spot.
The final two matches, both of which will be shown at Sprotsters, are as follows:
Scotland v Slovakia – Thursday 5th October, 19:45 KO
Slovenia v Scotland – Sunday 8th October, 17:00 KO
So, how will Scotland hope it all pans out? The reality is that Scotland need maximum points from these games which would put them on 20 points. While top spot is no longer a possibility with England already on 20 points with two games left, England’s latest victory over Slovakia has benefited Scotland. A win for them against Slovenia on the 5th of October would also benefit Scotland’s cause.
So if England and Scotland both take maximum points from the last two games, Slovakia will most likely beat Malta in their last game meaning they would finish on 18 points and two behind Scotland. Yaldi! We’d then have a to face another runner-up in a two-legged match with victory leading to Russia.
What would benefit Scotland? If Slovenia are out of the race to qualify for Russia before our last match to them away from home. That probably won’t be the case mathematically, even if it’s unlikely for them to qualify. They’d need Malta to take points from Slovakia and to defeat Scotland by a certain goal margin. For Scotland’s sake, we’ll hope for Slovakia to rip Malta apart and for Slovenian heads to go down early.
What if Scotland don’t take maximum points though? Well, a draw against Slovakia would more a less end all hopes and you can assume that’s what they will be traveling to Hampden for. A draw in that game would mean Scotland would need to defeat Slovenia and hope that Malta pull off a miracle to get something off Slovakia. Unlikely.
A draw against Slovenia wouldn’t end all hopes but it would make things complicated. The final group standings are based on goal difference and Slovakia are four goals better off than us to date. With a lower score for us against Malta and England only beating Slovakia by one goal, we’ll be hoping for a comfortable victory over Slovakia at home to reduce that margin even more. With Slovakia at home to Malta in their final game though, they’ll be going guns blazing to make sure their goal difference is as high as possible and to qualify ahead of us if it comes down to goal difference.
In short, Scotland really need maximum points but this group is most likely going to go right to the wire. Book your table now to guarantee a seat for some of the biggest nights at Sportsters!