Euro hopes in balance - Caldwell

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Gary Caldwell admits he is aware that time is running out for him to play for Scotland in the finals of a major tournament.

The 29-year-old Wigan defender is one of the most experienced players in Craig Levein's squad for the friendly against Denmark at Hampden on Wednesday night.

He said: "I am only 29, believe it or not, but once you start nearing 30 you do start to think your opportunities are less, obviously the World Cup comes only every four years so this is going to be a big one for myself."

He continued: I think it's coming at the peak of my career and it's one in which we have a real opportunity with the team we have got and the group that we have got. So hopefully I, personally, and the country can get there."

The game will serve as a warm-up for the Euro 2012 qualifying double-header against Czech Republic and Lithuania next month with Caldwell admitting that the Scots' hopes of making it to Poland and Ukraine next summer are "in the balance".

Scotland have not qualified for the finals of a major tournament since the 1998 World Cup in France and for the qualification campaign for Brazil in 2014, Levein's side were handed another tough draw in a group including Croatia, Serbia, Belgium, Wales and Macedonia.

"You see that World Cup draw and see the challenge that awaits and that's something to look forward to in the future, but for now we have to focus on the Euro campaign and these coming games are the most important for us just now," Caldwell said.

"I think our Euro hopes are still in the balance. It's still between us, the Czechs and Lithuania (for second place play-off spot).

"Obviously having Czech Republic at home is a huge game and it will probably decide where we finish in the group.

"If we can win that one it will give us confidence going in to the remaining games. But we are in the position now where we have to win these two games at home and put ourselves in a strong position for the last two fixtures."

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Gary Caldwell
Premier League
Wigan Athletic

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