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Page last updated at 19:40 GMT, Sunday, 7 February 2010

Scotland face Spain in Euro 2012 qualifying group

The head coaches of Group I, Scotland Craig Levein, Spain Vicente Del Bosque, Czech Republic Michal Bilek and Liechtenstein Hans-Peter Zaugg
Scotland manager Craig Levein with the head coaches of Spain, Czech Republic and Liechtenstein

Scotland have been drawn in the same Euro 2012 qualifying group as holders Spain, the Czech Republic, Lithuania and Liechtenstein.

After the draw in Warsaw, Scotland manager Craig Levein said: "It's a tough group but I couldn't look through the groups and pick any easy games.

"I'm excited about drawing the best team in the world, Spain."

The nine group winners and the best runner-up qualify automatically for the finals in Poland and Ukraine.

However, given Scotland's recent record in qualifying tournaments for major finals, a more realistic goal for Levein is likely to be to reach a play-off place by coming second in Group I, where eight teams then compete home and away in November 2011 for the final four qualifying places.

Scotland's group presents a daunting first challenge for Levein, who said before the draw that he would love to face England.

Looking forward to the ties with the Euro 2008 winners, Levein said: "It'll be a great occasion and I'm sure all the Scottish supporters will be excited about the prospect of Spain coming to Hampden and a few of them will be happy about a nice trip to Spain.

"It's a long time since we have played them in a competitive match.

"It is no secret that Spain should be favourites to win the group if they play as they can, but it might be easier in a five-team group to get that second place."

Scotland manager Craig Levein
I believe that when the first qualifying games come round in October we'll be ready

Scotland manager Craig Levein

The new Scotland manager will head to a meeting in Madrid on 19 February with the four other nations to agree on dates for the qualifiers.

After that, Scotland face the Czech Republic in a friendly at Hampden in March.

"They are a fantastic side. We'll get a wee idea of just what we are facing," added Levein.

"There is plenty time to gather information about the other teams in the group. Some we know about a fair bit about and others not so much."

Lithuania will provide Euro qualification opposition for Scotland for the fourth tournament in a row.

"We know a bit about Lithuania and they had a fair number of players playing in Scotland. That's a tough game as well," observed Levein.

"I look through the teams in the group and I see a lot of tough fixtures, but my intention is to get some momentum going into the qualifying games and see if we can get some confidence and team unity. If we do, we'll be more than capable of beating anybody.

"I believe that when the first qualifying games come round in October we'll be ready."

Poland and Ukraine will be only the third co-hosts of the European Championship, following in the footsteps of Belgium and the Netherlands in 2000, and Austria and Switzerland in 2008.

Scottish Football Association chief executive Gordon Smith said: "Hopefully we can achieve qualification. Spain are a top side just now. They are the holders and they have such great players.

"We know it will be a really tough game but it's a glamorous game and I'm sure people will want to see it."


Euro 2012 qualifying draw:

GROUP A: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Belgium, Austria, Turkey, Germany

GROUP B: Andorra, Armenia, Macedonia, Republic of Ireland, Slovakia, Russia

GROUP C: Faroes, Estonia, Slovenia, NORTHERN IRELAND, Serbia, Italy

GROUP D: Luxembourg, Albania, Belarus, Bosnia, Romania, France

GROUP E: San Marino, Moldova, Hungary, Finland, Sweden, Netherlands

GROUP F: Malta, Georgia, Latvia, Israel, Greece, Croatia

GROUP G: Montenegro,WALES, Bulgaria, Switzerland, ENGLAND

GROUP H: Iceland, Cyprus, Norway, Denmark, Portugal

GROUP I: Liechtenstein, Lithuania, SCOTLAND, Czech Republic, Spain



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see also
England face Wales in Euro group
07 Feb 10 |  Football
Driver declares himself Scottish
05 Feb 10 |  Hearts
Levein reveals England Euro wish
05 Feb 10 |  Football


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