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Scotland talking points ahead of their World Cup qualifying game with Moldova

Scotland v Moldova – FIFA World Cup 2022 – European Qualifying – Group F – Hampden Park
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

Scotland face Moldova in their penultimate game in Group F of the World Cup European qualifiers on Friday.

Denmark have already won the group but Scotland are in a strong position to seal second spot.

Here the PA news agency looks at five talking points ahead of the game in Chisinau.

Play-off chance

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Scotland will secure second spot in the group and a place in March’s play-off competition if they win. There will be other chances if they cannot get three points – Israel need to get a result in Austria later on and Scotland host Denmark on Monday. But Steve Clarke’s men will be determined to wrap up the runners-up spot before facing the runaway leaders.

Five in a row?

Scotland also mde it five in a row last year when they beat Serbia (Novak Djurovic/PA)

Scotland also mde it five in a row last year when they beat Serbia (Novak Djurovic/PA)

Scotland are looking to make it five consecutive victories for the second time in two seasons. They achieved the same feat when beating Serbia in the Euro 2020 play-off finals a year ago.

Strike options

Jacob Brown

Stoke’s Jacob Brown scored the winner at Luton on Saturday (Leila Coker/PA)

Clarke will have to make at least five changes to the starting line-up that won in the Faroe Islands last month with two places up front needing cover. Lyndon Dykes, who has scored in the past four games, and Ryan Christie are both suspended. Che Adams, squad newcomer Jacob Brown and Kevin Nisbet are vying for a strike role while the likes of John McGinn, David Turnbull and Stuart Armstrong could take up a role just off the front.

Defensive cover

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Scott McTominay was sent home with a throat infection to leave Clarke without another defender after Grant Hanley pulled out with a groin injury. The good news is that Kieran Tierney is fit again after an ankle injury. Jack Hendry is likely to feature again leaving Liam Cooper of Leeds and Hearts centre-back John Souttar battling for a place in the back three.

Warning from history

Berti Vogts

Berti Vogts suffered agony in Moldova (PA)

Scotland drew 1-1 in Chisinau in October 2004 in a result that cost Berti Vogts his job as manager. Steven Thompson levelled soon after the hosts took a 28th-minute lead but Scotland suffered another major blow in their quest to reach the 2006 World Cup, having taken one point from their first two home matches.