Football News

FIFA World Cup Qualifying Preview: Scotland v Croatia

Created on 14 Oct., 2013 10:00 AM GMT

Croatia will look to bounce back from an agonising defeat to Belgium when they face Scotland in their last FIFA World Cup qualifier.

Igor Stimac's charges had to beat Belgium in Friday's Group A encounter to maintain their hopes of automatic qualification for Brazil 2014.

But a first-half brace from Romelu Lukaku put the visitors into a commanding lead at the Stadion Maksimir, and - despite Niko Kranjcar notching a late consolation - Croatia fell to a 2-1 loss as Belgium confirmed their place at next year's showpiece in South America.

The result leaves Croatia seven points off top spot with just one fixture to play, but they will look to end their campaign with a strong performance against Scotland to take some confidence into their forthcoming play-off tie.

Stimac has been dealt a blow ahead of the game at Hampden Park though with the news that midfielder Ivan Rakitic has been forced to withdraw from the squad with a hamstring injury.

The Sevilla man has started the season in impressive form with four goals in eight La Liga appearances for his club.

Scotland, meanwhile, head into the game looking to finish as high as possible and improve their coefficient ranking for future qualification campaigns.

Gordon Strachan's team can end as high as third, although a vastly inferior goal difference compared to Serbia makes that scenario unlikely.

One player looking to have an impact on the game is Stoke City midfielder Charlie Adam, who is set to earn his 25th cap.

The former Liverpool man admitted he has failed to produce his best form on the international stage, but hopes to put that right in the future.

"I'd probably say I've not played to my potential for my country as much as I should have on a consistent basis," he said.

"So I hope this can be a fresh start for me with Scotland (and) that I can get a number of games and kick on now.

"It's been a bit up and down for me with Scotland. I've not played in the last couple of games through injury, suspension and other things.

"It's nice to get back involved and I'm ready for Tuesday night. I always hope I can influence the team in different ways."

Scotland will be without Blackburn Rovers striker Jordan Rhodes, who is absent with a groin problem.

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