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England face Scotland while Northern Ireland land tough draw for Russia 2018

We take a look at the rest of the groups in Russia 2018 qualifying.

England came out on top when the sides met at Celtic Park in November.
England came out on top when the sides met at Celtic Park in November.
Image: PA Archive/PA Images

RESURGENT SCOTLAND WILL get a crack at the old enemy England in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Gordon Strachan’s side have looked much improved in their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign, but they’ll have a tough task on their hands to make it to the World Cup.

As well as England they’ve been drawn with Slovakia, who are six out of six so far in Euro 2016 qualifying, with Slovenia, Lithuania and Malta completing the group.

Northern Ireland are on the crest of a wave at the moment as they look in a great position to make it to the European Championships next summer, but they’ve been paired with World Champions Germany in a tough Group C, and will also have to fend off the Czech Republic to make it into the playoffs for Russia 2018.

As well as that, Norway have shown potential in the last 12 months and will prove a tough nut to crack, while Azerbaijan and San Marino complete the group.

France Netherlands Soccer Source: AP/Press Association Images

The group for the neutrals, however, looks like being Group A, with Holland, France and Sweden set to fight it out for one automatic place at the tournament, and one playoff spot. They’re joined in the group by Bulgaria, Belarus and Luxembourg.

Group G will also see a couple of great games with Spain and Italy paired together with Albania, Israel, Macedonia and Liechtenstein.

Switzerland have played at three World Cups in a  row, and they’ll be confident of making it to the playoffs for 2018. They’ll fight it out with Portugal for top spot in Group B, with Hungary, Faroe Islands, Latvia and Andorra making up the opposition.

Slawomir Peszko celebrates scoring Poland's Group E looks wide open. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Group E on the other hand looks wide open. Romania were drawn as the top seed, but both Denmark and Poland will fancy their chances of claiming top spot in the group, with Montenegro, Armenia and Kazakhstan completing the group.

Belgium will be heavy favourites to make it out of Group H, but the playoff spot looks wide open, with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Estonia and Cyprus all struggling in their respective Euro 2016 groups.

The final group – Group I – also looks wide open, with Croatia joined by Iceland, Ukraine, Turkey and Finland.

Group A

Netherlands, France, Sweden, Bulgaria, Belarus, Luxembourg

Group B

Portugal, Switzerland, Hungary, Faroe Islands, Latvia, Andorra

Group C

Germany, Czech Republic, Northern Ireland, Norway, Azerbaijan, San Marino

Group D

Wales, Austria, Serbia, Republic of Ireland, Moldova, Georgia

Group E

Romania, Denmark, Poland, Montenegro, Armenia, Kazakhstan

Group F

England, Slovakia, Scotland, Malta, Lithuania, Slovenia

Group G

Spain, Italy, Albania, Israel, Macedonia, Liechtenstein

Group H

Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Greece, Estonia, Cyprus

Group I

Croatia, Iceland, Ukraine, Turkey, Finland

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About the author:

Neil Treacy

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