GORDON STRACHAN'S side go into today’s showdown in Slovenia knowing a win will secure the play-off spot in Group F.
But which nation do the stats suggest will fare best? Unibet blogger Steve Jennings takes a look.
Scotland are unbeaten in their 4 previous meetings with Slovenia
Strachan’s men edged past Slovenia with an 88th-minute Chris Martin winner at Hampden back in March. Prior to that the nations had met three times. They drew 1-1 in a friendly in Slovenia in February 2012 following two encounters in the qualifying campaign for the 2006 World Cup – a 0-0 draw in Glasgow and a 3-0 Scotland victory in the reverse fixture. All of that means the Scots have conceded just one goal in four meetings with Slovenia.
Scotland have won 3 games in a row in the same World Cup qualifying campaign for the first time since 1998
Since the 2-2 draw with England at Hampden in June, Scotland have won all three of their World Cup qualifiers without conceding a single goal. They won 3-0 in Lithuania and 2-0 at home to Malta before Thursday’s 1-0 victory over Slovenia. It’s the first time Scotland have won three successive World Cup qualifiers in the same campaign since 1998 which has given them the best possible chance to seal second place in Group F with a fourth straight win on Sunday.
Eleven of Scotland’s 15 goals have come in the second half
Scotland and England share a few similarities, even if the fans don’t want to admit it. Eight of England’s last nine goals in World Cup qualifying matches have come after half-time. Scotland are slow starters too – 11 of their last 15 goals in qualifiers have come in the second half, with six of those strikes coming no earlier than the 84th minute. That includes Martin Skrtel’s 89th-minute own goal at Hampden on Thursday. On the same night England took until stoppage time to score against Slovenia – Scotland will hope to have things wrapped up sooner.
Slovenia have kept a clean sheet in each of their last 4 home games
Sunday’s hosts have lost their last three qualifiers on the road by a 1-0 scoreline but they’re a completely different team at home. Slovenia are unbeaten in their last four home matches – including the 0-0 draw with England – winning three and drawing one. Impressively, they didn’t concede a single goal in any of those four games. Only England (3) have conceded fewer goals than Slovenia (5) in Group F.
Leigh Griffiths has been directly involved in 6 goals in his last 4 Scotland appearances
With three goals and three assists in his last four international games Leigh Griffiths is the man Slovenia will be targeting. The Celtic striker scored two stunning free-kicks against England in June before netting his third goal in three matches against Malta last month. He also played a key part in the build-up to Skrtel’s own goal on Thursday, turning his man and putting Ikechi Anya through on the right to set up the late winner – Scotland might need another moment like that in Slovenia.
Griffiths to score (23-10, Unibet)