Scotland’s recent qualifiers of great importance

Date: 11th June 2015

WITH the Republic of Ireland European qualifier fast approaching and being mooted as the biggest since our crunch decider with Italy back in 2008, Ben Ramage takes a look at some of the most vital qualifiers of the Tartan Army’s recent history.

Scotland 0-1 Holland World Cup 2010 Qualifier, Wednesday, 9th September 2009

Scotland had a chance of making the play-offs for the 2010 World Cup, but a poor campaign at the hands of George Burley, including a heavy loss to Norway, left us needing to beat the Dutch. No easy task, but we gave the Dutch our best effort and went close to leading when Steven Naismith hit the post and Michel Vorm saved Miller’s follow up. A win was all that would do, but we were sucker punched when Eljero Elia pounced on David Weir’s mistake and rounded David Marshall to finish the game with nine minutes to go. Burley was subsequently sacked following a 3-0 friendly defeat to Wales, and again the wait for qualification continued.

Holland 6-0 Scotland European Championship 2004 Play-off Second Leg, Wednesday, 19th November, 2003

The Tartan Army headed to Holland having beaten the giants at Hampden Park, thanks to one of James McFadden’s many wonder goals. It was never going to be easy for Berti Vogt’s boys to hold the lead, but it was really a one-sided affair as Ruud van Nistelrooy grabbed a hat-trick while a young Wesley Sneijder controlled the midfield. He fired in a belter from long range, as well as setting up two from set-pieces for Andre Ooijer and Frank de Boer as we were well and truly dismantled.

Scotland 4-0 San Marino World Cup 2002 Qualifier, Wednesday 28th March 2001

In one of very few games which Scotland have ever completely dominated from start to finish, the Scots secured a comfortable win. Two goals from then-skipper Colin Hendry and further efforts from Billy Dodds and Colin Cameron helped Craig Brown’s side to another vital win in the group.

Scotland 1-2 Italy European Championship 2008 Qualifier, Saturday 17th November 2007

Alex McLeish’s men made such a brave attempt to qualifying for the Euros back in 2008, despite being drawn in the most unbelievably awful group alongside both of the previous World Cup finalists, France and Italy as well as quarter-finalists Ukraine. Needing to beat the world champions to have a chance to qualify, we were stunned early on when Luca Toni scored after just two minutes after some poor defending from a throw in. Scotland rallied well and Barry Ferguson equalised in the second half, resulting in pandemonium in the Hampden stands. We were well and truly robbed, though, when Alan Hutton was blatantly fouled in the corner late on, only to see the referee inexcusably give the free-kick the other way. Of course, the Italian’s equalised from the resulting Andrea Pirlo cross and they qualified, meaning the wait for a return to major action continued.

France 0-1 Scotland — European Championshi[p 2008 Qualifier, Wednesday 12th September 2007

Another memorable result from our ill-fated 2008 qualifying campaign. Having already beaten the French at Hampden earlier in our quest to reach Austria and Switzerland, McLeish’s men had some recent inspiration to draw on in Paris. Craig Gordon was in world-class form at one end, keeping several French efforts from finding the back of the net. At the other end, all that was needed to gain a priceless three points was another wonder strike from McFadden. In the end, two wins over France were not enough, however, as Les Bleus pipped us to the runners-up spot in the group.

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