Prognosis positive for ScotlandSunday 8 January 2006
How did they perform in the 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification round?
• Scotland started their 2006 FIFA World Cup campaign more in trepidation than expectation, and it proved to be the case in 2004 following a poor start, but with a new manager in 2005 came renewed hope and improved results. In the end, three wins and four draws secured a third place finish in a six-team group and once again Scotland are hoping or even expecting that better performances lie ahead.
• With no victories from their first four fixtures, Scotland were facing an uphill task from early on in the competition, but they kickstarted their revival with a 2-0 home defeat of Moldova on 4 June 2005 thanks to goals from Christian Dailly (55) and James McFadden (88).
• Their trip to Belarus four days later ended in a scoreless draw, but their subsequent draw, at home against Italy on 3 September 2005 showed a restored resolve. Kenny Miller opened the scoring after early in the first half only for substitute Fabio Grosso to spoil the party with an equaliser 15 minutes from time.
• Four days later, Scotland were winning on their travels as Norway discovered. A first half double from Miller (20, 30) set up the victory with the Norwegians' belated response coming from Ole Martin Årst one minute from time.
• Although Scotland were to be stunned in Glasgow by Vitali Kutuzov's fifth-minute winner for Belarus on 8 October 2005 in their penultimate fixture, they finished on a high note with a 3-0 win away against Slovenia four days later with goals from Darren Fletcher (4), McFadden (47) and Paul Hartley (84).
How did they perform in UEFA EURO 2004™?
• Scotland reached the play-offs for the second time in a row at the end of the UEFA EURO 2004™ qualification group stage, only to lose 6-1 on aggregate against the Netherlands. The Scots had high hopes with a 1-0 defeat of the Dutch in their first leg match at Hampden Park thanks to McFadden's goal midway through the first half, but it was a different story in the return in Amsterdam four days later with Ruud van Nistelrooij (37, 51 and 67) helping himself to a hat-trick in the 6-0 rout.
• During qualifying, Scotland finished four points behind Germany with four wins and two draws from their eight engagements to claim second place one point ahead of Iceland. Opening their campaign with a 2-2 away draw against the Faroe Islands, Scotland quickly recovered with back-to-back wins against Iceland. Although defeats away against Lithuania (1-0) and Germany (2-1) followed, the Scots took seven points from their last three home games. Their last victory, a 1-0 win against Lithuania, confirmed a second-placed finish as, at the same time, Iceland were going down to a 3-0 defeat in Germany.
What is their best performance in the UEFA European Championship?
• Scotland qualified for back-to-back final tournaments in the 1990s, their best display coming at UEFA EURO '96™ in England. They qualified for the final tournament as one of the best second-placed finishers with a record comprising seven victories, two draws and a defeat which came away against third-placed Greece (1-0). Russia topped the standings, three points ahead of Scotland.
• But the Scots lost out on goals scored in the group stage of the finals to the Netherlands. The two sides shared a scoreless draw in their opening game before Scotland lost 2-0 against England and then defeated Switzerland thanks to Ally McCoist's 36th-minute goal. But the Dutch took second place and a place in the quarter-finals given their three goals scored to Scotland's one after the two sides finished both level on points and goal difference.
• Scotland failed to qualify for the UEFA European Championship final round in their first six attempts. Their first appearance in the finals came at EURO '92, following the first, and to date only, time that they won their qualifying round group. The Scots took eleven points from their eight matches to finish a point clear of both Switzerland and Romania with Bulgaria a further point behind in fourth. The basis for Scotland's qualification was their home form, with their only point dropped from four games coming in a 1-1 draw against Bulgaria.
• In their group at the eight-team finals, the Scots finished third, losing to both the Netherlands (1-0) and Germany (2-0) before defeating the Soviet Union 3-0 with goals from Paul McStay (7), Brian McClair (16) and Gary McAllister (84pen).
• Up until the start of qualifying for UEFA EURO 2008™, Scotland had appeared in the UEFA European Championship on ten occasions, and had played 86 matches. In that time, they had won 39, drawn 22 and lost 25 with 118 goals scored and 90 conceded.
• Scotland did not participate in the 1960 and 1964 UEFA European Championships.
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