Scotland v Wales – World Cup Qualification preview and team news

Hamden Park will play host to a “Battle of Britain” that will ring a little hollow with Scotland and Wales lying bottom and second bottom of Group A respectively and their hopes of qualifying for Brazil 2014 at virtually zero.

In the previous fixture in October, Gareth Bale’s stunning late double sealed a 2-1 victory for the Welsh and Chris Coleman his first victory as Wales boss since taking over from the late Gary Speed. However, despite arguably their strongest squad since the days of Ryan Giggs and John Hartson, the Welsh failed to build on that dramatic win and were downed in Croatia only a few days later to all-but-confirm another qualification failure.

The result also more or less condemned Scotland manager Craig Levein to the exit door despite a promising performance. Gordan Strachan is the new man in charge and he begun his reign with a narrow 1-0 friendly win over Estonia in February. His task now will be to ensure that Scotland do not finish bottom of their qualifying group and thus leave themselves a tougher task in future qualification campaigns.

Wales could be without star man Gareth Bale after the Tottenham winger missed parts of training with a virus though he is still expected to play. However, David Vaughan, Joe Allen and Steve Morison are all out, leaving Coleman the decision to play Craig Bellamy as a lone frontman or use his pace on the flanks with either Sam Vokes or Jermaine Easter as the point-man.

Scotland have their own injury problems with key midfielder James Morrison, their goalscorer in Cardiff in October, ruled out with a hamstring problem. Added to the loss of Darren Fletcher and Steve Brown, Ross McCormack, James Forrest and Danny Fox have also been ruled out. Steven Whittaker and Barry Bannan could be used however.

See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Scotland v Wales

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