‘Scotland have 24% World Cup chance

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November 28, 2021
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    Scotland players celebrate v DenmarkStatisticians Gracenote believe Scotland have a 24% chance of reaching the Qatar World Cup

    Rewind to September. Scotland have just been convincingly beaten by Denmark in Copenhagen and are languishing fourth in their World Cup qualifying group.

    At that point, if someone told you Steve Clarke's side had a 24% chance of reaching next year's finals in Qatar, you would probably have taken that… wouldn't you?

    Six consecutive wins have followed and the nation is on cloud nine again. The most recent of those victories, the final Group F game against the Danes, secured a seeded play-off spot.

    Friday's draw saw Scotland paired with Ukraine in a home semi-final, while a potential trip to either Wales or Austria awaits in a World Cup play-off showdown.

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    Despite the Ukrainians (31st) currently sitting eight places above Clarke's men (39th) in the Fifa world rankings, statisticians Gracenote have the Scots down as favourites to progress.

    Scotland's home advantage is a determining factor in that, giving Clarke's side a 56.3% chance of progression, according to the Gracenote boffins.

    If their prediction comes to fruition, that would mean a final in Cardiff or Vienna for the Tartan Army, where the stats rate the Scots' chances of ending their World Cup hoodoo at 24.2%.

    'It's going to be a cagey affair' – analysis

    Ukrainian football journalist Andrew Todos on BBC Sportsound

    There was a live stream of the manager watching on and he did a fist pump. He said he was happy to get Scotland and they are a level opponent with Ukraine.

    Since the summer and the Euros, Andriy Shevchenko has left and they have a new manager, Oleksandr Petrakov, who won the Under-20 World Cup in 2019 with Ukraine. He's made a few changes, they play more on the counter-attack. It's going to be quite an even game and a cagey affair – it's an even match-up.

    It was Scotland or Wales everyone wanted to draw. But everyone is taking it with a pinch of salt, knowing that Scotland have won their last six games.

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    November 28, 2021
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