by a Sunday Express Reporter
Scotland avoided the big names in last night’s World Cup draw for the 2014 tournament in Brazil.
The draw in Rio put the Scots in Group A with Macedonia, Wales, Belgium, Serbia and Croatia.
There is no doubt the draw could have been worse. Top seeds are Croatia but it could just as easily have been world champions Spain or England.
And from the second pot the Scots got Serbia and avoided France which was also a bonus. Boss Craig Levein will now get down to assessing our rivals.
“I’ve got a lot of work to do to establish knowledge of these opponents,” said Levein.
“It’s not like we’ve drawn France, England or Spain. Some of these opponents are not household names.
“However, I have plenty time to get to know all about them and establish what I can find out about them. In some ways it could have been an easier draw, in some ways it could have been harder – I didn’t want Belgium or Wales.
“Belgium are one of the most up-and-coming nations in Europe. Likewise, Wales.”
He added: “The next most important thing now is to prepare for the dates draw. That will be vital.
“I will research the climate in Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia. I will also work out when these countries get their best results and try to avoid playing them at these times.”
Scotland last played Macedonia in the World Cup qualifiers for the 2010 tournament, and suffered an embarrassing 1-0 defeat in their opening tie of the campaign in Skopje in September 2008 when George Burley was boss.
The return a year later saw Scott Brown and James McFadden score in a 2-0 victory at Hampden.
The Scots last played Wales earlier this year in the Nations Cup in Dublin, when James Morrison, Kenny Miller and Christophe Berra hit the net in a 3-1 win.
England will be in Group H along with Montenegro, Ukraine, Poland, Moldova and San Marino.
Northern Ireland will face Azerbaijan, Luxembourg, Israel, Russia and Portugal in Group F.
And the Republic of Ireland join Germany, Sweden, Austria, Faroe Islands and Kazakhstan in Group C.
Courtesy of the Scottish Sunday Express