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2010 World Cup qualifying draw

Scotland manager Alex McLeish
Alex McLeish's side have risen up the rankings
Netherlands are the top seeds in Scotland's five-strong group for the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign after Sunday's draw in South Africa.

The Scots will also face Norway, Iceland and Macedonia in Group 9.

Scotland manager Alex McLeish said: "I am philosophical about draws and think bring it on whoever we are playing.

Although the Scots lost 6-0 in their last game with Holland, McLeish stated: "We are a different team now and I don't think that'll happen again."

McLeish, who is thought to be wanted by Birmingham, avoided the question of whether he would still be the Scotland manager once the qualifying campaign begins.

Instead, he expressed his hopes that Scotland could build on recent fine results that led to his side taking their place among the second group of seeds for the World Cup.

Hopefully, we can go a step further and qualify

Scotland manager Alex McLeish

The Scots have risen to 14th in the world rankings after running close France and world champions Italy during qualification for Euro 2008.

"Hopefully, we can go a step further and qualify," McLeish told BBC Sport.

"I would have taken Italy again. I would have taken France as we beat them twice.

"We rose to the challenge and also played Italy off the park in the second half at Hampden."

With only three top seeds left to come out the hat in South Africa, there was still the possibility that the Scots could have faced a re-match with either Italy or France.

And Scottish FA chief executive Gordon Smith said: "No disrespect to Holland, but we would have taken them rather than the other two.

"Being second seeds has been a big advantage to us as there are one or two other groups that we would probably prefer not to be in.

"We should be reasonably happy with the draw."

Europe has nine qualifying groups and the Scots have been drawn in the only one not to contain six teams.

Only the team finishing top automatically qualify for the finals, with the best eight runners-up facing play-offs for the remaining four places.

While the results against the team finishing bottom will not count in the other groups, all those in Scotland's group will as Group 9 does not contain a sixth seed.


Scotland's last meeting with the Netherlands was that thrashing in Amsterdam in the second leg of a play-off for the Euro 2004 finals.

But the Dutch, who the Scots defeated 1-0 in the first leg, could only finish second in Euro 2008 qualifying Group G behind Romania.

Scotland have faced Norway, who finished third behind runaway winners Greece and Turkey in Group C, a number of times in recent years.

They were opponents in the 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign, when both matches resulted in away wins.

The sides finished 1-1 during the 1998 World Cup finals and the teams also met in qualifying for Italia 90.

Iceland were sixth in Euro 2008 Group F, which was won by Spain and contained Northern Ireland.

The Scots faced Iceland in qualifying for the 1986 World Cup and for Euro 2004, with the Scots winning all four matches, scoring eight goals and conceding just once.

Macedonia, who finished fifth in Group E, which was topped by Croatia and also contained England, will be facing Scotland for the first time.

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