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FIFA World Cup European Qualifying

Hampden Park (ATT 32,430) 11th September 2012 - Kick off 20:00 Ref: Sergei Karasev

Scotland Scotland vs Macedonia Macedonia

Scotland 1

K Miller (43)

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Macedonia 1

N Noveski (11)

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Scotland v Macedonia preview

Levein needs victory to silence his critics

Last Updated: 11/09/12 11:33am

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Craig Levein: Scotland boss knows victory over Macedonia is essential

Craig Levein: Scotland boss knows victory over Macedonia is essential

If Craig Levein feels there was a 'hysterical reaction' to Saturday's 0-0 draw with Serbia, then he will need to brace himself should Scotland fail to defeat Macedonia at Hampden Park.

Anything other than three points in their second World Cup qualifying Group A contest will be regarded as a dismal failure by a press pack who have Levein in their sights due to results, tactics and team selection.

Supporters vented their frustration during the weekend stalemate, too, with the final whistle greeted with a chorus of boos, while striker Jordan Rhodes' name was being chanted long before he was finally introduced to the fray with just nine minutes remaining.

Levein was quick, and completely correct, to point out that with 27 points still to play for Scotland's qualification campaign remains at the embryonic stage, but with a group that also features Croatia, Belgium and Wales, the road to Brazil 2014 is anything but straightforward.

Confidence

Visitors Macedonia must not be underestimated, with coach Cedomir Janevski's side suffering a narrow 1-0 defeat away to Croatia in their first qualifier on Friday, while a recent goalless friendly draw with Portugal demonstrates their defensive mettle.

Janevski said: "We played very well against Croatia. Even though we didn't take anything from that game, we now have more confidence.

"Scotland might be favourites at home for this game but we have confidence from the last game and we will try for a good performance and to take the points also from Glasgow."

Levein started with his favoured 4-5-1 formation against Serbia at the weekend, only switching to 4-4-2 for the final nine minutes when Rhodes replaced the ineffective Kenny Miller and the Scotland boss may be tempted to be more expansive in a game where victory is essential.

Concerns

The spectre of Steven Fletcher continues to hang over the Scotland squad, with the Sunderland striker's self-imposed exile still the subject of much debate, particularly in the wake of the nation's struggles in front of goal at the weekend.

Scotland have concerns over who will act as their last line of defence against Macedonia, with first-choice goalkeeper Allan McGregor aggravating a groin problem and deputy Matt Gilks suffering a similar problem in training on Sunday.

Third choice David Marshall is ready to step up, while St Mirren shot-stopper Craig Samson has been added to the squad as cover, but Levein is hopeful McGregor and Gilks will be fit to feature, and is similarly confident over the involvement of midfielder Charlie Adam, who also has a groin injury.

The two previous meetings between the two nations show Macedonia need to be respected, having defeated Scotland 1-0 in Skopje back in September 2008, with the Tartan Army witnessing a triumph in the home fixture 12 months later as James McFadden's wonderful solo goal helped them to a 2-0 triumph.

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Matches

  • FIFA World Cup European Qualifying

    Tue 11th Sep - Group E
    Tue 11th Sep - Group F
    Tue 11th Sep - Group I
    Tue 11th Sep - Group D
    Tue 11th Sep - Group B
    Tue 11th Sep - Group G
    • Bos&Herz
      4 - 1
      Latvia
      bet
      TV
    • Slovakia
      2 - 0
      Liechtenstein
      bet
      TV
    • Greece
      2 - 0
      Lithuania
      bet
      TV
    Tue 11th Sep - Group A
    Tue 11th Sep - Group H
    Tue 11th Sep - Group C

Tables

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group A

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Belgium 10 26
2 Croatia 10 17
3 Serbia 10 14
4 Scotland 10 11
5 Wales 10 10
6 Macedonia 10 7

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group B

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Italy 10 22
2 Denmark 10 16
3 Czech Republic 10 15
4 Bulgaria 10 13
5 Armenia 10 13
6 Malta 10 3

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group C

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Germany 10 28
2 Sweden 10 20
3 Austria 10 17
4 Republic of Ireland 10 14
5 Kazakhstan 10 5
6 Faroe Islands 10 1

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group D

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Netherlands 10 28
2 Romania 10 19
3 Hungary 10 17
4 Turkey 10 16
5 Estonia 10 7
6 Andorra 10 0

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group E

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Switzerland 10 24
2 Iceland 10 17
3 Slovenia 10 15
4 Norway 10 12
5 Albania 10 11
6 Cyprus 10 5

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group F

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Russia 10 22
2 Portugal 10 21
3 Israel 10 14
4 Azerbaijan 10 9
5 Northern Ireland 10 7
6 Luxembourg 10 6

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group G

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bosnia and Herzegovina 10 25
2 Greece 10 25
3 Slovakia 10 13
4 Lithuania 10 11
5 Latvia 10 8
6 Liechtenstein 10 2

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group H

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 England 10 22
2 Ukraine 10 21
3 Montenegro 10 15
4 Poland 10 13
5 Moldova 10 11
6 San Marino 10 0

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group I

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Spain 8 20
2 France 8 17
3 Finland 8 9
4 Georgia 8 5
5 Belarus 8 4

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