Football

Strachan blames genetics, not tactics, for failure

Football coaches usually point the finger at many things for not winning- the referee, pitch or Lady Luck.

Yesterday, Scotland manager Gordon Strachan had an unusual excuse for his side's failure, insisting that Scottish players' inferior physique is to blame.

Scotland had fought out a dramatic 2-2 draw away to Slovenia in Group F yesterday morning (Singapore time), but the result extinguished both sides' World Cup dreams.

With Slovakia beating Malta 3-0, it left the Scots needing a win to seal runners-up spot and a play-off place. But they couldn't come up with the goods when it mattered, and Strachan blamed it on genetics.

He said: "Genetically, we are behind. In the last campaign, we were the second-smallest, apart from Spain.

"We had to pick a team to combat the height and strength at set-plays.

"Genetically, we have to work at things, maybe we get big women and men together and see what we can do.

"But it is a problem for us because we have to fight harder for every ball and jump higher than anyone else.

"Nobody can tell me their (Slovenia's) technique, apart from one player, is better than any of ours. But physically, we have a problem.

"We seem to be able to battle it and get through just with sheer determination and skill and work rate. And that takes a lot out of you."

When Leigh Griffiths put Scotland ahead against the run of play in the first half, they looked on course for a famous victory.

But Slovenia's Roman Bezjak, who came on at the break, headed in a 52nd-minute equaliser and sidefooted a second after 72 minutes.

Scotland substitute Robert Snodgrass snatched an 88th-minute equaliser to save his team's blushes, but not their campaign.

Scotland's goalscorer Griffiths offered a simpler explanation for the disappointing result.

"Two lapses of concentration have cost us," he said.

"For all the possession they had, they didn't really cut us open. Two set-pieces have cost us dearly."

The draw meant Scotland finished third in the group on 18 points, behind Slovakia on goal difference, eight points behind group winners England and three points ahead of Slovenia.

The results also confirmed Northern Ireland's place in the play-offs.

The Group C side have a better record against the teams in their section than Slovakia have in Group F. - WIRE SERVICES

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