When the European draw for the World Cup qualifying groups were announced, there would have been a few national team coaches shaking their heads, but Group A is clearly the toughest to call.
While the likes of England, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands look to have straight forward tasks ahead in their attempts to reach Brazil in 2014, others will cursing their luck.
13 nations will qualify for the finals, with the nine group winners automatically going through and the eight best group runners-up advancing to the play-offs, where only four will qualify.
Group A has six teams that will all have hopes of making the finals, but only one will be certain of getting on a flight to South America. Here are the contenders.
Croatia – Will certainly start as favourites, with Slaven Bilic’s men currently sitting ninth in the Fifa world rankings. Worth noting though, that they have not beaten Scotland or Serbia in previous meetings and anyone placing football bets should remember this.
Serbia – Not the team they were in 2010, but still have quality players in their squad – with the likes of Nemanja Vidic, Branislav Ivanovic and Dejan Stankovic to select from. The games against rivals Croatia are likely to prove crucial.
Scotland – Having failed to qualify for any major tournament since the 1998 World Cup, the Scots will be even more desperate to make it to Brazil. They appear to be making some progress under Craig Levein, but scoring goals still looks to be their problem.
Wales – Gary Speed has some of the finest young players in the UK to select from – the likes of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey among them – but any injuries will leave his squad thin. They have the attacking players to cause any team problems, but they leak too many goals and must rectify that to stand a chance in this group. Those looking for football tips should expect them to be involved in high-scoring games though.
Belgium – Ranked 37th at present, many feel Belgium are a team to watch over the next few years. A young squad is made up of players making a name for themselves at home and abroad, including Romelu Lukaku, Marouane Fellaini and Vincent Kompany.
Macedonia – Despite being above Wales in the rankings, Macedonia look the outsiders of the group. Skipper Goran Pandev is a class act, but they don’t look to have enough to make an impact in a tough group.