Alex McLeish’s side may be guaranteed a shot at the play-offs but will still want to progress on their own terms to next year’s tournament
Scotland will look to take the momentum of their Nations League promotion through to the European Championships next year as they begin their qualification campaign with a trip to Kazakhstan.
Alex McLeish’s visitors are nominally the third seeds in Group I behind Belgium and Russia, but at the very least are still
Having not qualified for a major tournament since the 1998 World Cup in France, McLeish knows he will have his work cut out, but if his side can take three points away from the Astana Arena, then they will have given themselves a real shot in the arm.
Michal Bilek’s side
|Game||Kazakhstan vs Scotland|
|Date||Thursday, March 21|
|Time||3:00pm GMT / 11:00am ET|
In the United States (US), the game will be broadcast on Univision Deportes En Vivo and can be livestreamed via ESPN3.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
|Univision Deportes En Vivo||ESPN3|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game will be broadcast on Sky Sports Football and Sky Sports Main Event and can be livestreamed via the Sky Go app.
|UK TV channel||Online
|Goalkeepers||Pokatilov, Nepohodov, Shatsky|
|Defenders||Logvinenko, Malyi, Suyumbayev, Beisebekov, Miroshnichenko, Erlanov|
|Forwards||Shchotkin, Murtazayev, Turysbek, Seidakhmet,
Kazakhstan starting XI: Nepogodov; Maliy, Postnikov, Erlanov; Vorogovskiy, Pertsukh, Kuat, Merkel, Suyumbayev; Zainutdinov, Murtazayev
|Goalkeepers||Bain, Kelly, McLaughlin|
|Defenders||Bates, Findlay, McKenna, O’Donnell, Palmer, Robertson, Souttar, Tierney|
|Midfielders||Armstrong, Fleck, McGinn, McGregor, McLean, McTominay, Paterson, Shinnie|
|Forwards||Burke, Forrest, Fraser, McBurnie, McNulty, Morgan, Russell|
Scotland starting XI: Bain; Palmer, Bates, McKenna, Shinnie; McGregor, McGinn, Armstrong; Forrest, McBurnie, Burke
Scotland are the odds-on favourites at 4/5 according to
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Though they may have been absent from Russia for a World Cup to remember last year, Scotland still ended 2018 on a high to bolster their chances of securing a first major tournament in over two decades.
Alex McLeish, newly installed for his second spell in charge of the national side, took his team to the top of their group in Nations League over Israel and Albania, earning promotion from C to B ahead of the next edition.
Attention now turns squarely to securing a place at the 2020 European Championships, with the added safety cushion that should they fail to progress from Group I, they will have a second chance through the play-off route.
With Hampden Park in Glasgow set to be one of 12 host cities next year too, the incentive to secure a return to top-level international competition is big for Scotland, as they travel to Astana to begin their campaign against Kazakhstan.
Michal Bilek’s side
The visitors have also been left without captain Andy Robertson after the Liverpool defender was forced to have an operation on his mouth.
The 25-year-old has been a stand-out for both club and country this season and was one of the driving forces behind Scotland’s successful Nations League campaign.
Others who have been forced to withdraw from the squad include Jordan Archer, Barry Bannan and Charlie Mulgrew, with Livingston goalkeeper Liam Kelly and Kilmarnock defender Stuart Findlay both drafted
Following their trip east, Scotland will return home via San Marino for their second qualifier, where they will expect to pick up another three points against the nation ranked bottom in the world.
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