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Can Scotland take a step towards Nations League glory against Israel?

| 11.10.2018

They made a great start last time out

After comfortably beating Albania 2-0 last month, Scotland have put themselves in a great position to take control of their Nations League group.

Israel are the other team in Group C1. Scotland face them in Haifa tonight as slight 6/4 favourites.

The Coral News Team have taken a look at their chances of making it two wins from two…

Seize the chance

Scotland will be near enough at full-strength here. Alex McLeish has said he’s unlikely to make many changes from the side that beat Albania last time out.

John McGinn’s recovery from an ankle knock means all 11 players who played in that game are ready to feature. After scoring and setting up the other goal, there’s a Smart Boost on Steven Naismith to score First here at 13/2 (was 11/2).

They’ll be up against a side that has won just one and lost eight of their last 10 games.

It’s a great opportunity for them to put themselves in a position to top the group.

Secure Euro 2020 qualification

Finishing top of the group would also give the Tartan Army an extra chance to make it to Euro 2020.

Scotland haven’t qualified for a major tournament since the 1998 World Cup. Anything that boosts their hopes of reaching the next one should be taken very seriously.

Whatever happens, McLeish’s side will go through the usual qualification process next year. But if they don’t get in that way, finishing as group winners would give them another shot.

Each of the Nations League group winners go into play-offs, along with the other three group winners in their League, in March 2020. The play-off winners will qualify for the tournament. If Scotland are already in, their play-off spot will go to the group runners-up.

In simple terms, finishing first gives them an insurance policy.

Exciting talents

McLeish has a promising squad to work with, with captain Andrew Richardson, Kieran Tierney, McGinn, Scott McTominay and Oli McBurnie all still relatively young. Ryan Fraser has pulled out of the latest squad with injury, but he’s in that age bracket too.

Two years from now, those players should all have developed further. If they do get to the tournament, you’d fancy them to put in a decent showing at least with those players involved.

A win tonight could be a big step towards winning the group, and maybe even Euro 2020 qualification.

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Daniel Anwar

Daniel has written about sport for Coral, Squawka, FourFourTwo and the Premier League, among others.