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Under 21s To Take On Belgium
Scotland are making hard work of qualifying for the UEFA championships but a real test against Belgium could set them up nicely for the games that matter.
Scotland Under-21s still have a chance to qualify for the play-offs to make it to the UEFA European Under-21 Championship to take place in Israel next year. They need to win both their remaining qualifying games but that is still a possibility. Manager Billy Stark has lined up a preparation game against Belgium in a Vauxhall Under-21 International at East End Park on Tuesday, 14th August. Belgium, currently third in Group Eight, beat England 2-1 in November last year and will provide Stark's under-21's with a real test in August. He said: "This match will be a big test for us because Belgium have some top quality players. You only have to take a look at their senior squad to see the kind of players they have been producing of late. We played them in a friendly away from home last year and lost 1-0 that night but had some good chances to win the match and I think a draw would have been a fair result. It was a great exercise for us because we were still forming our squad in that match but this one is a bit different because we are now preparing for our final two qualifying matches. We are second in our group going into our last two games and this match will allow us to get everyone together and work towards giving the campaign one final push and hopefully we can clinch a play-off position." Scotland almost picked up all three points in Bulgaria when Jordan Rhodes scored his eighth goal of the campaign with just minutes remaining but a last-gasp equaliser in the third minute of added time denied Stark’s men the win. That result, coupled with the Netherlands’ 5-0 win over Bulgaria last night, means Scotland will probably need two wins from their remaining two game to have a realistic chance of clinching a play-off place. Stark added: "There is a fine line between a draw and win and that was shown in our draw with Bulgaria last week. As I tell the players, you can only analyse performances because results don’t always tell the story of a game and I feel we performed really well out there, especially coming back from a goal down at half time. I always ask the players to play with a confidence in every game and they certainly did that against Bulgaria and in all of our previous games in this campaign. If we can beat Luxembourg at home then we will have a good idea of what will be required going into our final game away to Austria."
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