Scots play ozzies before real tests begin

Craig Levein has announced a depleted squad for the friendly against Australia on Wednesday. Of the original squad listed last week Graham Dorrans, Jamie Mackie, Phil Bardsley and James Forrest have withdrawn due to injury. These are in addition to Darren Fletcher (long term health problems), Scott Brown, Kenny Miller (match fitness due to move to USA) and Steven Whittaker. All of which are first team squad regulars.

Levein has drafted in late replacements in David Goodwillie, Ross McCormack and somewhat controversially Ian Black

Black was recently bought by 3rd Division dwelling Rangers and only last week Levein intimated that as Rangers players are playing at such a low level he will not be including them in his squads (the example of Lee Wallace was cited). It seems however that he has already changed his opinion.

Ian Black for 3rd division Rangers

Of the squad of 23 only Charlie Mulgrew (Celtic,SPL) Andy Webster (Hearts, SPL) and Ian Black (Rangers, 3rd Div) currently ply their trade in Scotland with the majority  either playing for EPL or Championship sides.

Robert Snodgrass sealed a move to Norwich City from Leeds United last month to join Steven Whittaker (who opted to Norwich as a free agent after Rangers administration) and Russell Martin.

These players together with: Gary Caldwell and Shaun Maloney (Wigan), Barry Bannan and Alan Hutton (Aston Villa), Danny Fox (Southampton), James Morrison (West Brom), Charlie Adam (Liverpool), Jamie Mackie (QPR) and Steven Naismith (Everton) means that the bulk of squad will be EPL based , which it has not been seen since the halcyon days of the 80’s and early 90’s.

Much is expected of free scoring Jordan Rhodes (Huddersfield) who has been attracting interest from many EPL teams. With Kenny Miller (Vancouver Whitecaps) still settling into his new life in the MLS Rhodes along with David Goodwillie (Blackburn Rovers) will be given the opportunity to shine.

Scotland “starlet” Jordan Rhodes

Also with Alan McGregor now playing for Besiktas of Turkey it could be argued that the Scottish squad is now playing collectively at a higher level than the previously SPL based squads.

One thing that is for sure is that they must perform far better than their last friendly outing against the USA where they were thumped 5 -1. That end of season game did little to improve the already fragile confidence of the Scots who wilted in the Florida sun. At times it was embarrassing as a Scottish supporter to watch as the Landon Donovon led Americans waltzed around our defence on the way to any easy victory and a personal hat-trick.

Scotland Squad for Australia match:

  • Goalkeepers: McGregor, Gilks, Marshall
  • Defenders: Berra, Caldwell, Fox, Hanley, Hutton, Martin, Mulgrew, Webster
  • Midfielders: Adam, Bannan, Black, Cowie, Morrison, Phillips, Snodgrass
  • Forwards: Goodwillie, Maloney, Naismith, McCormack, Rhodes

The game should prove to be good preparation for Scotland’s upcoming home World Cup qualifiers against  Serbia and Macedonia next month, before trips to Wales and Belgium in October. If Scotland are to stand any chance of qualification for Brazil 2014 they must hit the ground running and pick up at least 8 points from their opening 4 matches.

While Group A does not contain any European powerhouses, in reality the likes of Croatia and Belgium have far better players than Scotland’s.

Croatia impressed at times in Euro 2012 and were unlucky not to progress from a group including Spain and Italy. They have a healthy mix of stars like Nika Jelavic (Everton), Luka Modric (Tottenham Hotspur) and Nika Kranjcar (Dynamo Kiev) and must start as group favourites.

Belgium have not qualified for a World Cup since 2002 but currently have a slew of international stars in their side including Vincent Company (Manchester City and EPL player of the year), Eden Hazard (Chelsea and Ligue 1 player of the year) and Thomas Vermaelen (Arsenal). However it remains to be seen if the Belgians can play as an international team as they do for their respective clubs.

EPL layer of the year, Vincent Company

Similarly Serbia have a host of players based in the strongest leagues in Europe. Although Dejan Stankovic has decided to retire Serbia can still count on Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United) and rising star Miralem Sulejmani (Ajax).

Group A: Croatia, Serbia, Belgium, SCOTLAND, Macedonia, Wales

It could be argued that Serbia, Scotland , Macedonia and Wales are of much the same level and Croatia and Belgium will fight it out for 1st and 2nd places. But a good start to the campaign could see the Scots push the other teams all the way.

Whether Craig Levein is the man to lead the Scots to Brazil is open to question. His handling of the Steven Fletcher affair and the infamous 5-5-0 formation against the Czech Republic have not inspired confidence in the rank and file supporters. Although he seems to be the darling of the Scottish press and seems eager to “talk the talk” there has been little to impress on the field during his tenure.

August 13, 2012. Tags: , , . football, soccer, Uncategorized, World Cup Qualifiers.

Leave a Comment

Be the first to comment!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback URI

Back of The Net Blog

A Sideways Look At The Beautiful Game

@AnimalsGetOut

#WILDLIFE_REMOVAL 1-855-897-8484 #Ontario #Canada

SSW Events

The House and Soul Weekender For Purists, not Tourists...

Snowman loves the Sun

A Wonderful World of Mine

The Footballing World

The Beautiful Game

HST BOOKS

A resource and bibliography of Hunter S. Thompson's work by Marty Flynn

Miles from Nowhere

Sport, music, Ukraine, Wales

The World is a Windmill

Travel, science, cooking, culture... well, just anything that makes our ever-changing planet beautiful!

GOLD news and blogs

Interesting news past and present

kalosmujisha

Through The Eyes of Mujisha

%d bloggers like this: