Complex Nations League Leaves Scotland With Albania And Israel

Written by on January 24, 2018

Scotland will play Israel and Albania in the inaugural Nations League.

Matches will be played home and away in a 10-week period between September and November.

The new tournament has been designed to replace international friendlies with more competitive matches and will include promotion and relegation.

It will also provide a second route to qualification for the European Championship, with four places available via a play-off system.

Scotland, still without a manager since the departure of Gordon Strachan in October, have never played Albania before, while the last of three wins against Israel came in a 1986 friendly.

The Nations League divides 55 countries into four tiers, with Scotland in the only three-team group in the third section.

One team from each tier will reach the Euros once the group qualification process for the European Championship is completed.

Winning the Nations League group would therefore guarantee a play-off involving three other third tier teams if Scotland were to miss out on a top two place from their Euro qualifying group.

Euro qualifying begins in March 2019, with the 10 groups to be drawn on 2 December.

Glasgow’s Hampden Park will host matches at Euro 2020, with the tournament spread across 12 different cities to mark Uefa’s 60th anniversary.

Scotland have not reached a major finals since the World Cup in 1998.

Albania and Israel were in the same qualifying group for this year’s World Cup, finishing behind Spain and Italy. Each side enjoyed a 3-0 away win in their meetings.

Albania made their major tournament debut at Euro 2016, while Israel have never reached a European Championship.

The draw brought a mixed reaction from the Tartan Army on social media with many confused by the complexity of the tournament and others caring little for the opposition on offer for Scotland.

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