England draw Scotland in World Cup qualifiers

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England and Scotland will clash in the qualifying competition for the 2018 World Cup after being drawn in the same group.

The two home nations were drawn in Group F along with Slovakia, Slovenia, Lithuania and Malta. The winners will qualify automatically for the finals in Russia, with the runners-up having to take part in a play-off.

Wales were drawn in Group D with the Republic of Ireland, plus Austria, Serbia, Moldova and Georgia.


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Northern Ireland will have to face world champions Germany in Group C along with the Czech Republic, Norway, Azerbaijan and San Marino.

England and Wales were both among the nine countries who were top seeds for the draw, thanks to their July FIFA rankings of ninth and 10th respectively.

Scotland and Northern Ireland were among the third seeds, and Martin O'Neill's Republic of Ireland side in the pot of fourth seeds.

England have not failed to qualify for a World Cup since 1994, though they did miss out on the European Championships in 2008.

By contrast Wales have only attended a World Cup finals once in their history, in 1958, while Scotland's last appearance came in 1998, Northern Ireland's in 1982 and the Republic of Ireland in 2002.

The seeding system has worked in all the home nations' favour compared to four years ago, when Scotland and Northern Ireland were in the pot of fourth seeds and Wales were among the pot of bottom seeds ranked a lowly 112th in the world.

It is the first time England and Scotland have been drawn together to play a World Cup match, although the home nations championship did act as a qualifying competition for the 1950 and 1954 World Cups.

England and Scotland first played each other 143 years ago - the first ever international - and also met in a play-off for Euro 2000, where England went through 2-0 on aggregate.

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