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WC Qualification Europe

  • 6 September 2013
  • • 20:00
  • • Hampden Park, Glasgow
  • Referee: P. Tagliavento
  • • Attendance: 40284
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Scotland – Belgium Preview: Hazard a doubt for Hampden clash

Scotland – Belgium Preview: Hazard a doubt for Hampden clash

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The hosts put in a creditable display last time out against England and take on Marc Wilmots' in-form side who have gone six games without defeat

Scotland will be hoping to continue the progress made under new manager Gordon Strachan when they face Belgium on Friday.

The Scots' chances of making it to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil have long since disappeared after a disastrous start to their qualifying campaign that cost former manager Craig Levein his job.

The former Dundee United boss was relieved of his duties in November after overseeing a run that sent Scotland slumping to the bottom of Uefa qualifying Group A.

Strachan subsequently took over as national team boss in January, following a spell out of the game.

And having already sown the first seeds of recovery with a shock 1-0 victory in Croatia and a creditable performance in a narrow 3-2 defeat to England last month, Strachan's arrival appears to be having the desired effect.

"I see it in him at every training session," said Norwich forward Robert Snodgrass ahead of Friday's qualifier against Belgium.

"He tells us, 'Listen, you are good enough to do this – or you wouldn't have been picked. I'm picking you because I believe in you.'

"Mentally and physically, we prepare for a game. You have to believe you can get a result. That’s the only way.

"There is [the conviction] that, when Scotland are going in against these big sides, we can genuinely get a result against them."

Strachan has added four players to his squad for the clash, following the withdrawals of James Morrison, Graham Dorrans, Allan McGregor and George Boyd.

The quartet have been replaced by midfield trio Craig Bryson, Chris Burke and Kevin Thomson, as well as defender Lee Wallace.

For the visitors, Chelsea's Eden Hazard missed training on Tuesday with an Achilles problem and faces a battle to be fit.

The 22-year-old midfielder sat out the session as a precaution, although he is still expected to feature in Friday's game.

Belgium arrive as a team in form, having strung together a run of six games unbeaten - stretching back to November last year.

Goals from Christian Benteke and Vincent Kompany led the table-toppers to a 2-0 win in the reverse fixture back in October, and Marc Wilmots' men will expect to maintain their march towards qualification for the finals, with Croatia also chasing top spot in the group.

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