A depleted Scotland return to action on Wednesday night for the first time since Euro 2020 with a daunting visit to semi-finalists Denmark.
That’s followed by a home clash with Moldova on Saturday and a trip to Austria next Tuesday.
When the final whistle goes in Vienna, we should know much more about our chances of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Scotland haven’t been at a World Cup since 1998, but hopes are high following our taste of international tournament football this summer.
There are two ways Steve Clarke’s squad can book their tickets for Qatar:
By winning the group
The simple, straightforward route is to win lots of matches and top our qualifying group.
Scotland are currently unbeaten, but with two of our three games ending in draws, we’re already four points behind runaway leaders Denmark. We play them in Copenhagen on Wednesday night and at Hampden in November.
To have a realistic shout of winning Group F, we’ll need to win at least one of those encounters.
Failure to take maximum points home and away from Moldova, our Hampden clash with Israel and visit to the Faroe Islands would probably also spell curtains.
And having drawn with Austria at home, banking at least a point in Vienna next week seems essential.
Via the play-offs
If we don’t win the group, all is not lost – as long as we maintain our grip on second place.
Do that and we’re into the play-offs next spring, when the final three European qualifiers will be decided.
All ten group runners-up go into this stage, where they’ll be joined by two of the best performers in last season’s Nations League.
After two single-leg knockout rounds, the three teams left standing go to Qatar.
How does Group F stand?
When are our games?
When is the World Cup?
International tournaments normally take place in the summer, however the 2022 World Cup will have a very different feel.
It will start in November, with the final on December 18 – meaning the European domestic season will face a lengthy interruption.
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