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  1. With Celtic's elimination from the Champions League, Scotland will not benefit from the additional country ranking point that it would receive from having a side in the group stages. This has, in recent years, kept Scotland from falling further behind comparable nations in the coefficient rankings - used to calculated the number of European places each country receives and what round they start. I said on one of the qualification threads that it was vital for Scotland to have a team in the Champions League group stages to benefit from these bonus points, but, after having a look at the calculation, I'm not so sure. It's possible that Celtic's earlier elimination from the Champions League will benefit Scotland's coefficient. Assuming Celtic beat the Baltic team that they will play in the play-off round of the Europa League, Scotland will have a minimum of 3.375 points going into the Europa League group stages. In the group stages, of both the CL & EL, countries (with four teams) receive 0.5 points for winning and 0.25 points for drawing matches. Therefore to make up the lost bonus point, they would have to win two matches. In the past two years, Celtic have obtained an average of 1.625 (for Scotland) from the CL group stages; three wins and a draw is required in the EL group stages to better this. Should Celtic reach the group stages of the Europa League, they will be in Pot 2*. This will mean that Celtic will avoid a number of the bigger sides in the competition, such as Milan, Marseille and Fenerbahce, increasing their chances of winning matches. A group of Anderlecht, Celtic, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Midtjylland (as an example) looks passable for Celtic, with all games winnable on paper, unlike any Champions League group Celtic could've received. It appears then, that our best chance of increasing the coefficient in future seasons will come from the Europa League - with our national champions' Champions League group stage appearances probably being a negative for our points. Of course, that's without even looking at Rangers and Hibernian, this season. Rangers are in a good position to progress to the play-off round and would play either Ufa or Progres, both of which are winnable games (unless they get Pedro back 😉). Hibs won't be favourites going into their game against Molde, but a clean sheet at home may be enough if they can get a goal. Their potential reward appears to be Dinamo Minsk (who are 4-0 up over Zenit - somehow?), which on paper seems winnable too. It's not currently, inconceivable that we could have three teams in the group stages of the Europa League, but it will be very unlikely to actually happen. Scotland's potential coefficient (2018-19 season) as of 15 August: At present: 3.125 (-0.125 on 2013-14) If Celtic reach group stage of EL: +0.250/+0.500 (min/max) If Rangers or Hibs reach group stage: +0.375/+0.750 (min/max) If all reach group stage: +1.000/+2.000 (min/max) *Celtic will be in Pot 1 if three of Sevilla, Zenit, Basel, Besiktas, Olympiacos, Ludogorets and Copenhagen fail to reach the group stage. Red Bull Salzburg and PSV Eindhoven are the only teams still in the Champions League qualifiers that have a higher coefficient than Celtic.
  2. I've been busy lately, so I haven't looked at the forum for a couple of weeks. I've had a quick look at don't think this has been mentioned, but if it has I'm sorry. UEFA have reformatted the Nations League. There are pros and cons about this, both in general and for Scotland. What's the new format? The basic structure of four divisions, with twelve teams in the top two and fifteen/sixteen in the bottom two is being replaced with sixteen in the top three divisions and seven in the bottom. This change ultimately means that we would've been promoted to League B if we had finished second in our group last time. Each league will contain: League A: All the countries that were in that division last time (including those who would've been relegated), plus the nations placed 1st in League B. League B: The nations placed 2nd or 3rd in League B and the nations placed 1st or 2nd in League C. League C: The nations placed 3rd or 4th in League C and the nations placed 1st or 2nd in League D, plus the best nation placed 3rd in League D. League D: All remaining nations. There are four groups of four in Leagues A, B and C, with League D having a group of four and a group of three. The draw for each group is seeded based on their position in the Nations League last time, with the exception of the teams that would've been relegated being placed below the teams that would've been promoted. For our league this means the pots are: Russia, Austria, Wales, Czech Republic Scotland, Norway, Serbia, Finland Slovakia, Turkey, Ireland, Northern Ireland Bulgaria, Israel, Hungary, Romania Why the change? The Nations League is being incorporated into World Cup qualifying. World Cup qualifying takes the same base format as the Euro qualifiers - five groups of five and five groups of six. The difference is that only the winners of each group qualify for the World Cup - due to less slots for European teams at the World Cup - and the runners-up enter the play-offs along with two teams from the Nations League. UEFA's document on the new format doesn't specify which two teams enter the play-offs; it's likely, IMO, to be the two highest ranked teams not to have qualified or to be in the play-offs already. There is no additional benefit from winning your group, as there was last time. The play-offs will consist of six semi-finals and three finals, with each final winner also qualifying for the World Cup. Additionally, this format change increases the number of matches for UEFA to market and prevents Germany being in League B. It also means that the lowest ranked teams will play more matches against similar standard teams (ie. San Marino will play Gibraltar/Faroe Islands, Latvia/Liechtenstein and Andorra/Malta instead of playing one of Cyprus, Estonia, Slovania or Lithuania as would've been the case previously). What does this mean for Scotland? We almost certainly won't be playing friendlies anymore, except in the months before a major tournament. This could be seen as a pro, but means that we'll have very little opportunity to play against countries from outside Europe which could be a con - especially if we do qualify for a World Cup. This change does increase the chance that we'll be in League B more regularly, as there are eight more nations in the top two leagues. What does this mean for World Cup qualifying seeding? FIFA have previously been reluctant to allow confederations to use their own seeding system ahead of the FIFA World Rankings for World Cup qualifying seedings. The document doesn't discuss seedings for the World Cup qualifiers, so I'm guessing the World Rankings will be used instead of your overall position in the Nations League. When are the matches? 3-5 September 2020 6-8 September 2020 8-10 October 2020 11-13 October 2020 12-14 November 2020 15-17 November 2020 World Cup qualifiers will take place in March, June, September, October and November 2021 (two matches each month), with the play-offs in March 2022. The 2022 Nations League will take place in June (four matches) and September (two) 2022, with the World Cup in November and December.
  3. UEFA Europa League group stage draw Friday 30 August 2019 (13:00) BT Sport stream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f49s2b2Cjjk Pot 1 Sevilla (ESP) Arsenal (ENG) Porto (POR) Roma (ITA) Man Utd (ENG) Dynamo Kiev (UKR) Besiktas (TUR) Basel (SUI) Sporting CP (POR) CSKA Moscow (RUS) Wolfsburg (GER) Lazio (ITA) Pot 2 PSV (NED) Krasnodar (RUS) Celtic (SCO) Copenhagen (DEN) Braga (POR) Gent (BEL) Gladbach (GER) Young Boys (SUI) Astana (KAZ) Ludogorets (BUL) APOEL (CYP) Eintracht (GER) Pot 3 Saint-Etienne (FRA) Qarabag (AZE) Feyenoord (NED) Getafe (ESP) Espanyol (ESP) Malmo (SWE) Partizan (SRB) Standard (BEL) Wolves (ENG) Rennes (FRA) Rosenborg (NOR) Basaksehir (TUR) Pot 4 AZ (NED) Vitoria (POR) Trabzonspor (TUR) Oleksandriya (UKR) F91 (LUX) LASK (AUT) Wolfsberger (AUT) Slovan (SVK) Lugano (SUI) Rangers (SCO) Cluj (ROU) Ferencvaros (HUN)
  4. https://www.uefa.com/insideuefa/about-uefa/news/newsid=2585829.html UEFA are going to introduce a third club competition in for the 2021-22 season. It appears that our (three) clubs will play in this competition instead of the Europa League - https://www.uefa.com/MultimediaFiles/Download/uefaorg/General/02/58/61/42/2586142_DOWNLOAD.pdf
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