Scotland national team boss Steve Clark believes that their successful run in the play-offs finals for the postponed Euro 2020 will be duplicated as they prepare for the World Cup qualifiers in March. Clarke’s side was placed in Group F alongside Denmark, Austria, Israel, the Faroe Islands and Moldova in the World Cup qualifying draw in Zurich earlier this week.
Clarke is very confident that his players are on top of their gameand that the international team has a great chance of toppingtheir section or finish second following the result of their epic Belgrade triumph and Euro 2020 qualification. “I’d like to think that’ll be the case,” he said. “When we get together again in March the events of November will still be in the players’ heads.
Scotland, who have never reached any major tournament since 1998 World Cup, will join Croatia, Czech Republic, England in Group D, set to played in Glasgow and London following the 5-4 penalty shootout win over Serbia. Ryan Christie struck in the 52rd minute, before Luka Jovic headed in an injury-time equalizer to take the match to extra time. Mitrovic had his spot-kick saved by David Marshall.
“So hopefully they realise how good it feels to qualify for a major tournament and they’ll attack and relish the World Cup campaign the same as they did in the Euro 2020 qualifiers,” Clarke added. “It helps that we have belief and experience now. They both come together because the more we play the more experience you get.
Clarke continued: “This is a group of players who are starting to accumulate a good number of caps now. They have that experience now of international football, and the experience of qualifying for a major tournament. They know what it takes. They know you have to play well in the big games.” The 57-year-old manager also thinks that the expectation is “high”especially they have done quite well recently.
Clarke is also optimistic that getting some fans back inside grounds will bolster their bid to reach Qatar 2022. “Hopefully by the time we get to March we’ll have a few supporters inside the stadium with us,” he said. “It’s maybe a little bit too optimistic to expect them to be able to travel to the away games.” Clarke now aims a good start in the World Cup campaign to give them a good momentum in the Euros.
In March, UEFA announced that their largest European Championship men’s soccer tournament was called off and will resume after a year due to the threat of the coronavirus pandemic. The Euro 2020 will now take place from June 11 to July 11 in 2021. The venues for the said competition to be staged next year confirmed to be the same.