Scotland’s victory in France has revolutionised Group B, making the November 17 clash between Italy and the Scots in Glasgow the decider.
Few expected Alex McLeish’s men to repeat their incredible success, but a James McFadden goal on 64 minutes stunned the Paris crowd to secure a 1-0 victory. Now France have lost both their meetings with the Scots 1-0 and slide down to third place on 19 points.
It’s still extremely tight at the top for those two qualifying places, as Italy go on to 20 after their 2-1 win in Ukraine, while Scotland lead on 21 points.
Ukraine are all but out of the running now, as they trail on 13 points, albeit with a game in hand.
The fixture list provides the opportunity for a dramatic finale to this Euro 2008 qualifying campaign. Italy take on Georgia at Genoa’s Stadio Luigi Ferraris on October 13, but will be without suspended captain Fabio Cannavaro.
That same day Scotland welcome Andriy Shevchenko’s Ukraine and France travel to the Faroe Islands.
The Scots are away to Georgia on October 17 and France face Lithuania, while the Azzurri have a rest period.
This means that the showdown at Hampden Park will arrive on November 17 and, perhaps crucially in terms of motivation, it will be Scotland’s last match in qualifying.
Italy have one more result to go after that – at home against the Faroe Islands on November 21. France’s final tie is a tough one, travelling to Ukraine, although if the Eastern nation are already out of the running, there may not be too much of a fight.
REMAINING GROUP B FIXTURES:
Oct 13: Scotland-Ukraine, Italy-Georgia, Faroe Islands-France.
Oct 17: Georgia-Scotland, France-Lithuania, Ukraine-Faroe Islands.
Nov 17: Lithuania-Ukraine, Scotland-Italy.
Nov 21: Italy-Faroe Islands, Georgia-Lithuania, Ukraine-France.
Source: C4 Football Italia