Scotland’s World Cup qualification misery

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Since appearing at France ’98, Scotland have failed to qualify for any of the last five World Cups.

Sunday night’s costly draw with Slovenia was the latest in a long line of hard-luck stories endured by the Tartan Army, and turned out to be Gordon Strachan’s last match at the helm.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look back at the Scots’ other World Cup let-downs since their last appearance.

2002 – Japan and South Korea

Craig Brown called time on his Hampden reign after failing to reach the first World Cup to be staged in Asia. Although his side managed decent home and away draws with group winners Croatia as well as two wins apiece over whipping boys Latvia and San Marino, it was a costly 2-2 stalemate with Belgium in Glasgow that ultimately wrecked Scotland’s qualification hopes.

2006 – Germany

Berti Vogts was the man tasked with leading Scotland to the finals in his homeland but he was long gone by the time the finals got under way. A goalless draw with Slovenia in their group opener was far from the ideal start for the German, and defeat to Norway and a 1-1 draw with Moldova effectively killed off their hopes just three games in. Vogts resigned soon after. Walter Smith took over for the remainder of the campaign but, while he inspired his side to a decent draw at home to group winners Italy and a 2-0 win over Norway in Oslo, it was another missed opportunity for the Scots.

2010 – South Africa

Having enjoyed an upturn under Smith and his successor Alex McLeish, the Scottish Football Association turned to George Burley after seeing both their previous bosses lured back to club football. But it was another ill-judged appointment that started to go wrong almost immediately. Burley got off to the worst possible start as his team lost their opener 1-0 away to Macedonia. A 3-0 defeat by Holland three games later was not unexpected but the 4-0 defeat to Norway in Oslo was a shock that Burley barely survived. Another defeat to the Dutch in their final game put the final nail in the coffin and Burley was binned soon after following a dire 3-0 friendly defeat by Wales.

2014 – Brazil

Craig Levein’s side got off to a nightmare start on their quest to reach Brazil. Two home draws against Serbia and Macedonia was bad enough but there was no way back after defeats away to Wales and Belgium. Gordon Strachan was called in to tidy up the mess but when he kicked off his command with defeats to Wales and Serbia it meant Scotland were the first European team to be eliminated from the 2014 tournament.

2018 – Russia

Hope looked lost after Strachan’s side allowed Lithuania to claim a 1-1 draw at Hampden before back-to-back 3-0 defeats against Slovakia and England. But, after snatching a late win over Slovenia in Glasgow, the Scots went on to draw with England and then beat the Lithuanians, Malta and Slovakia as they fired themselves to within touching distance of the play-offs. All that was needed was a win away to Slovenia in their final game but yet again the Tartan Army were left with a blank summer as their team could only muster a 2-2 draw in Ljubljana.

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