Euro Qualifiers – Group D intrigues with Scotland fighting for last chance

Scotland Football (via Flikr Creative Commons).
Scotland Football (via Flikr Creative Commons). /

The European Championship qualifiers are set to finish up this week with the last two rounds of fixtures being played out over the next couple of days. Of all the intrigue which abounds perhaps it is Group D which interests to the highest degree.

With Scotland losing to Georgia in the last round of fixture sit opened up a surprising opportunity for the Republic of Ireland who, at one point, looked dead and buried. Now, it is Scotland who are fighting for once last chance to make the play-offs.

Ireland vs. Germany

The new European week of football was questioned at the time of it’s inception but Martin O’Neill and co. will remember the last one for a long time – results for the Boys in Green and Scotland meant a place in the play-offs was all but guaranteed.

Ireland’s last two games saw them hit Gibraltar for a relatively paltry four and Georgia by just one. Nevertheless they kept their nerve and it was enough for a big swing in fortunes, with the Scots losing away to Georgia on September 4.

O’Neill had to reduce his 40 man squad to one of 27 players last week. The revised squad includes two uncapped players, Eunan O’Kane and Alan Judge, while three players – Stephen Quinn (knee), Harry Arter (groin) and Ciaran Clark (quad) – have been ruled out because of injury.


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Germany meanwhile have recovered sufficiently to be set for qualification in 1st place, following what can only be described as a six month World Cup hangover.

A loss away to Poland on match-day 2 and a draw at home to Ireland on match-day three put the world champions in a seemingly precarious position, but since then they have won six consecutive matches to leapfrog two point ahead of neighbours Poland.

A draw will confirm Germany’s berth at UEFA EURO 2016 as one of the top two in the section while Ireland are the only team that can deny Joachim Löw’s side a ticket to the finals.

The last time Germany visited Dublin they hit the Boys in Green for six. This time out however, their opponents seems slightly more equipped to deal with the class of the Germans.

The 1-1 draw last October in Gelsenkirchen illustrates how tight this game will be once more.

Scotland vs. Poland

On November 14, 2014 Scotland had beaten the Republic of Ireland 1-0 at home and had put themselves in pole position to qualify from Group D.

Eight months later they travelled to Dublin and secured a 1-1 draw; a result which saw the Scots celebrate as if they had qualified.

How quickly football moves. Now Scotland, having lost 1-0 to Georgia, remains only with a glimmer of hope of taking back the 3rd spot in the group from the Irish.

Intriguingly, Scotland had won all three of their Group D home games prior to a 3-2 loss to Germany last time out. They have not won as many home fixtures in a qualification competition since UEFA EURO 2008.

Scotland’s only possibility of finishing third is by winning their last two games and hoping that Poland lose both of theirs, or by picking up at least four points more than the Republic of Ireland.


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Poland meanwhile have enjoyed a thoroughly successful qualification so far, with Poland set to qualify with a win against Scotland if the Irish fail to pick up all three points against Germany.

The Poles, who have accrued 17 points from eight matches, have been impressive from the off with the 2-0 win at home to Germany setting the tone for a year of dominance from Adam Newlka’s side.

Poland’s sole Group D defeat to date is the 3-1 reverse in Germany in September. Their away record in the section reads W2 D1 L1.

Notably, Poland are the highest scorers in UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying with 29 goals (3.63 per match).