The final 4 places in next summer's postponed UEFA European Championship will be determined in just 2 weeks, with matches taking place on 12 November across Europe. A win in Serbia would see Scotland make history, ending their 23 year-long absence from major tournaments. We take a look at what faces them in Belgrade, and round up all the latest play off finals news.
The road to Belgrade...paved with penalties
The Scotland National Team may not have had the sell-out crowd at Hampden Park and the support of the Tartan Army to boost them as they took on Israel earlier in October for their play off semi final. Indeed they, like everyone, had been affected by the global COVID pandemic prior to the match, losing several key players just days before. But, they showed their ability to hold their nerve under pressure, sending home 5 penalties to Israel's 3.
Scotland's Kenny McLean scores the final and winning penalty.
Read more about their clash with Israel here.
The challenge ahead
Scotland may not have to face Norway and their goal machine Haaland in 2 weeks time, thanks to Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic's two goals in Oslo earlier in October, but Serbia will be a formidable opponent. Not short on world class players, the team boasts an impressive line up with Sevilla's Nemanja Gudelj, Napoli's Nikola Maksimovic, and Dusan Tadic of Ajax a strong midfield three against Norway. Together with Fulham's Aleksandar Mitrovic, striker Luka Jovic of Real Madrid and Filip Djuricic, who plays in Serie A and scored twice in Serbia's World Cup qualifying win over Scotland in 2014 they are led by experienced veteran captain Aleksandar Kolarov.
Scotland goalkeeper Allan McGregor denies Aleksandar Kolarov in their unsuccessful 2014 World Cup qualifier against Serbia at Hampden Park.
National coach Steve Clarke is confident Scotland are 'as well prepared as we can be', saying of his strategic plan:
“What we spoke about when we got together for this camp was that we had to beat Israel and go through. We managed to do that and on the back of that, rather than talking up the Serbia game too much, we made sure everybody was focused on getting maximum points out of the next two games.
“We did that and have the platform now where we can win the League B section and get promotion to Group A which would be fantastic in terms of the development of the team. It would be fantastic for our world ranking and it would also possibly give us a little safety net in the qualification for Qatar 2022.
“All those things were really important to us."
Steve Clarke embraces goalkeeper David Marshall as Scotland celebrate victory against Israel in their play off semi final.
Play off finals fixtures
8 teams will do battle on 12 November to secure their place in the final tournament in 2021, happening across 12 host countries for the first time in the competition's 60 year history, to mark the special anniversary.
Who has already qualified
UEFA'S match previews for all finals fixtures here.
The group stage draw took place in Bucharest on Saturday 30 November 2019. Read more on this here.
The 20 teams that qualified via the groups will be joined by the four play-off winners.
Group A: Turkey, Italy, Wales, Switzerland
Group B: Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Russia
Group C: Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria, play-off winner D or A
Group D: England, Croatia, play-off winner C, Czech Republic
Group E: Spain, Sweden, Poland, play-off winner B
Group F: play-off winner A or D, Portugal, France, Germany
You can read more about the qualified teams' latest results, upcoming fixtures and starting XIs in UEFA's qualified teams form guide.
Download your match schedule here.