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Spain conflict sees Gibraltar switched to Scots' group

Gibraltar were placed in Scotland's group for Euro 2016, the British overseas territory's first qualifying tournament, due to "political reasons".

Gibraltar were picked out of the hat to be in the same group as Spain but UEFA had ruled before the draw that could not take place due to fierce Spanish opposition to the territory's inclusion as a separate member nation.

Instead, Gibraltar were moved to Group D along with Scotland, the Republic of Ireland, Germany, Poland and Georgia.

Allen Bula, the Gibraltar coach, said he hoped they could someday play Spain, which claims sovereignty over the territory. "I had a feeling we were going to get drawn in the same group as Spain and that's how it came out," he admitted.

"I would have loved to have played against Spain and I am hoping that one day we can and that football wins over politics."

Due to stadium issues, Gibraltar will play their home matches in Portugal, probably in Faro.

"Obviously for the fans it is a bit difficult and I would have liked to have played in Gibraltar but we are building a new stadium which will be finished in September 2016," added Bula.

"It's a great stadium in Portugal so for me as the manager, it's great we can play and train there.

"We have to accept that if that 30,000-seater stadium is filled for our home matches, say against Ireland or Scotland, then most of them will be Irish or Scottish fans. I don't see that as a problem, even if we only have 2000 of our own fans there.

"And playing Ireland or Scotland is great for us. They play in that British way like we do, with passion; we understand their game.

"We try and play a similar way. It would have been a dream to play England too, to walk out at Wembley, but I am delighted we have got one of the home nations and to get Germany is another dream come true.

"We wanted one of the British nations and I am delighted we have drawn Scotland, there are a lot of Scots in Gibraltar and they will enjoy that."

He added that it was a momentous day in the history of Gibraltar.

"It's an historic moment for us and the end of a very long 16-year journey," he said. "We have travelled a long road to get here."

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