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Gordon Strachan upbeat about qualification despite Germany loss

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Boss Gordon Strachan insists Scotland can still reach the European Championships in France next summer despite their 3-2 defeat against Germany at Hampden Park leaving them chasing a play-off spot at best.

The Scots went into the interval level after coming from behind twice with a Mats Hummels own goal and James McArthur strike cancelling out a Thomas Muller double.

But Ilkay Gundogan's 54th-minute strike proved to be the winner for the world champions.

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And with two Group D qualifying fixtures left for the Scots - second-placed Poland at home and minnows Gibraltar away - they remain in fourth place, four points behind Republic of Ireland and cannot finish in the top two automatic qualifying places.

The Scotland boss said: "Let's get this straight. We are still in this. Trust me, we are still in this.

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"If we play like that, with sheer determination, with a wee bit of luck - we never had that tonight but they went through that pain barrier.

"But we are still in this and I can't wait to get them back together to go again in the next two games.

"I am really proud of them and they should be proud of themselves.

"There are a couple of occasions in my managerial career when I get happy or sad but this time I actually feel for the players."

"Over two games, they have put in some amount of work. They are disappointed in there.

"Sometimes football is more than what you drink or eat, or drink, it is what in inside you.

"We kept coming back against the world champions and they can be proud of their performance."

It was the Scots' second defeat in their September double-header, following the disappointing 1-0 loss in Georgia on Friday night.

The Germans, for their part, showed for most of the night why are World Cup holders and Strachan referred to their remarkable 7-1 semi-final win over Brazil last summer in his admiration of them.

The former Scotland midfielder said: "All due respect to Poland, but I don't think anyone can be as good in possession as Germany.

"Somebody said there that we didn't attack them too often.

"Ask Brazil how they got on against them.

"It will be hard against Poland, they are a top side as well

"We have had two chances over the last couple of days to pick up points and we have not done that. We can't blame anyone else."

Strachan then used a boxing analogy to show how much he felt Germany were concerned at times.

He said: "It was like a boxer smacking people and they keep getting back up. It was a bit like that

"And even near the end the heavyweight boxer is getting annoyed by the flyweight boxer.

"There was a lot of changes and I could see in their management that it could have gone wrong. That's the way I interpreted it."

Germany are two points ahead of Poland at the top of the group and assured of at least a play-off.

And after wins over the Poles and Scotland, boss Joachim Low said: "The objective of Poland and this game was six points and that is exactly what we have done.

"So I am proud to say that we have made big steps towards France in 2016.

"As far as this particular match is concerned, it was anything but easy for long stretches of the game particularly as Scotland were practically surrounding their own box, operating long balls and hoping for dead ball situations in front of our box.

"We largely controlled this game and didn't allow Scotland any chances in open play.

"We were in possession most of the time and the win was well-deserved."

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Gordon Strachan
Football
Scotland Football

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