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Levein Fired as Scotland Soccer Manager After World Cup Slump

Craig Levein was fired as Scotland manager after the national soccer team began its qualifying campaign for the 2014 World Cup with two draws and a pair of defeats.

The 48-year-old’s exit means Scotland is looking to appoint its seventh manager since the team last qualified for a major tournament, the 1998 World Cup in France. Levein succeeded Craig Burley in December 2009 and had three wins in the 12 competitive matches he oversaw.

Billy Stark, the coach of the national under-21 team, will select the squad and take charge for an exhibition match against Luxembourg on Nov. 14.

“After the Luxembourg match, the board will meet to begin the process of identifying and recruiting the next national coach,” Scottish Football Association Chief Executive Stewart Regan said in a statement on the governing body’s website last night. “We will give ourselves time, given our fixture schedule, to find the right person for the job.”

Scotland opened its World Cup qualifying campaign with home draws against Serbia and Macedonia before losing on the road to Wales and Belgium. The Scots are last in Group A and are ranked 56th in the world by ruling body FIFA.

“The challenge for the squad now is to improve our position in Group A and, subsequently, improve our position in the FIFA rankings,” Regan said. “We also must begin preparations for the UEFA European Championships in France in 2016 which, for the first time, will have 24 qualification places.”

Levein -- whose coaching career has included spells at Hearts, Leicester City and Dundee United -- had said he wouldn’t continue as Scotland manager beyond the end of the current World Cup campaign and the SFA said it will honor his contract.

Scotland’s next World Cup qualifier is March 22 when it hosts Wales.

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