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WC Qualification Europe

  • October 15, 2013
  • • 3:00 PM
  • • Hampden Park, Glasgow
  • Referee: O. Hațegan
  • • Attendance: 30172

World Cup Qualifying Preview: Scotland - Croatia

World Cup Qualifying Preview: Scotland - Croatia

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Gordon Strachan's men could finish above Chris Coleman's Wales if they secure victory at Hampden Park on Tuesday, with the visiting side guaranteed a place in the playoffs.

Croatia will look to bounce back from an agonizing defeat to Belgium when it faces Scotland in their last World Cup qualifier.

Igor Stimac's charges had to beat the Red Devils in Friday's Group A encounter to maintain their hopes of automatic qualification for Brazil 2014.

But a first-half double from Romelu Lukaku put the visiting team into a commanding lead in Zagreb and, despite Niko Kranjcar notching a late consolation, Croatia fell to a 2-1 loss as Belgium confirmed its place at next year's tournament in South America.

The result leaves the visiting team seven points off top spot with just one fixture to play but will look to end its campaign with a strong performance against Scotland to take some confidence into the forthcoming playoff tie.

Stimac has been dealt a blow ahead of the game at Hampden Park, though, with the news that midfielder Ivan Rakitic has been forced to withdraw from the squad with a hamstring injury.

The Sevilla man has started the season in impressive form with four goals in eight La Liga appearances for his club.

Scotland, meanwhile, heads into the game looking to finish as highly as possible and improve its coefficient ranking for future qualification campaigns.

Gordon Strachan's team can end as high as third, although a vastly inferior goal difference compared to Serbia makes that scenario unlikely.

One player looking to have an impact on the game is Stoke City midfielder Charlie Adam, who is set to earn his 25th cap.

The 27-year-old admits that he has failed to produce his best form on the international stage but hopes to put that right in the future.

"I'd probably say I've not played to my potential for my country as much as I should have on a consistent basis," he told the press. "So I hope this can be a fresh start for me with Scotland and that I can get a number of games and kick on now.

"It's been a bit up and down for me with Scotland. I've not played in the last couple of games through injury, suspension and other things. It's nice to get back involved and I'm ready for Tuesday night. I always hope I can influence the team in different ways."

Scotland will be without Blackburn Rovers striker Jordan Rhodes, who is absent with a groin problem.

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