FIFA World Cup™ finals history
Not so long ago, qualifying for FIFA World Cups™ was almost taken for granted by Scotland. At the peak of their success, they reached five successive finals between 1974 and 1990, seeing off the likes of France and Czechoslovakia en route. Recent years have seen something of a drought, with the Scots failing to qualify since France 1998. Unfortunately, while qualifying became second nature, falling at the first hurdle also developed into something of a Scottish speciality. There were notable coups along the way, most notably a thrilling 3-2 win over finalists the Netherlands in 1978 and a goalless draw with holders Brazil at West Germany 1974. Other near misses followed, but Scotland won just a single point in their most recent World Cup appearance in 1998.

The team 
The current side’s strength lies in a strong midfield engine room, with defensive options also improving in recent years. With talented wingers and the tireless Steven Naismith, this side should provide a formidable test for even the most illustrious of opponents. Darren Fletcher is the team’s captain and midfield anchor, while the creative influence of Shaun Maloney and natural finishing ability of Jordan Rhodes offer exciting options in the final third. Scotland also possess two outstanding goalkeepers in Craig Gordon and Allan McGregor, leaving a selection dilemma for the man in charge. 

The coach
Gordon Strachan featured in Scotland’s World Cup golden years, appearing at the 1982 and 1986 finals. He took charge in 2013 and has set about instilling a strong team ethic, most notably in place during his spells at Coventry City and Celtic.

The stat
8 –
appearances at the World Cup for Scotland without finishing in the top eight, the most by any country.

The former stars
Denis Law, Jimmy Johnstone, Kenny Dalglish