It’s pelting down at Hampden, which should enhance a primal atmosphere.
Scotland v Israel team news
Scotland (3-4-1-2) Gordon; McTominay, Hendry, Tierney; Patterson, Gilmour, McGregor, Robertson; McGinn; Adams, Dykes.
Israel (3-5-2) Marciano; Arad, Bitton, Abu Abaid; Dasa, D Peretz, Natcho, Solomon, Menachem; Dabbur, Zahavi.
Azerbaijan v Republic of Ireland team news
Azerbaijan (4-3-3) Magomedaliyev; Huseynov, Medvedev, Haghverdi, Krivotsyuk; Makhmudov, Garayev, Bayramov; Alaskarov, Emreli, Ozobic.
Republic of Ireland (3-4-2-1) Bazunu; Omobamidele, Duffy, Egan; Doherty, Hendrick, Cullen, McClean; Horgan, Robinson; Idah.
Hello and welcome to another busy World Cup qualification clockwatch. We’ll be casting several eyes over the 5pm games, with our main focus on Scotland and the Republic of Ireland. The biggest game is at Hampden, where Scotland play Israel for the fifth time in just over a year.
The winner, if there is one, will have several toes in next year’s play-offs. Scotland, who are second in the group, still have to play the runaway leaders Denmark, so you could argue that a draw today favours Israel. Then again, Israel still have to go to Austria. The only way for either team to sit comfortably tonight is to win.
Ireland’s chances of qualification are long gone, but the trip to Azerbaijan is important for their under-pressure manager Stephen Kenny. While he has done a lot of good things since taking over, the most important – winning association football matches – has been a problem. Not even Tim Sherwood would boast about a win percentage of 6.25.
What else? Principal Cole, I’ll show you what else. Finland meet the draw specialists Ukraine in Group D – and there are two games in Group B, where Sweden have a puncher’s chance of stealing automatic qualification from Spain. If they beat Kosovo tonight they will move a point behind Spain with a game in hand. Greece, in third place, are away to Georgia.
These are the 5pm kick-offs:
- Azerbaijan v Republic of Ireland (Group A)
- Sweden v Kosovo (Group B)
- Georgia v Greece (Group B)
- Finland v Ukraine (Group D)
- Scotland v Israel (Group F)