Scotland and Wales up against form book in Group A

The top three seeds have taken the early initiative after the first round of fixtures in Europe's World Cup qualifying Group A.

It was touted to be Europe's toughest group after the draw was made for the road to Rio.

But predictions of a wide open section where every team could take points from the others are belied by early results.

Top seeds Croatia and star-studded Belgium have a win apiece, while Serbia left Scotland with a deserved point.

Jelavic celebrates after scoring the winner for Croatia against Balkan rivals Macedonia

Jelavic celebrates after scoring the winner for Croatia against Balkan rivals Macedonia

Macedonia and bottom seeds Wales have both to get off the mark, or score a goal.

It is too early to see a trend, but the Serbs' point in Glasgow would appear to give them the early initiative along with Balkan rivals Croatia and the Belgians.

In such a tight group, any point away from home will be valued and Serbia coach Sinisa Mihajlovic expressed himself satisfied with the 0-0 draw despite believing that his side were good enough to have left Hampden Park with a victory.

He hinted at changes - although he did not say whether that would tactically or in terms of personal - for Wales' visit on Tuesday.

Certainly, the second seeds' performance in Glasgow suggests that a side full of players from Europe's top leagues has yet to gel as Mihajlovic looks to blend youth and experience and arrest a series of indifferent results.

Wales manager Chris Coleman will have noted that, for all their ability on the ball, the Serbs' renowned defence looked at times uncertain and their attack insipid against a Scotland side finding it difficult to live up to some renewed optimism of their own fans.

Dries Mertens congratulates Jan Vertonghen after the latter's goal for Belgium against Wales

Dries Mertens congratulates Jan Vertonghen after the latter's goal for Belgium against Wales

The Welsh, already without a number of key players through injury, were further hampered by defender James Collins' 26th-minute dismissal for a reckless lunge on Guillaume Gillet as they inevitably succumbed to Belgium.

So the jury is somewhat out on how competitive the Welsh will be when playing with 11 men - and the star-studded Belgians' true worth (the third most expensive squad in world football) against a full quota.

Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany, who opened the scoring just before the break in Cardiff, suggested they were below par despite somewhat coasting to victory, with Tottenham Hotspur newcomer Jan Vertonghen adding the second late on.

The prospect of a starting line-up of multi-million pound players, including new Chelsea wonderboy Eden Hazard and in-form Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini, hitting top form will fill their rivals with some trepidation.

Croatia started unconvincingly as they looked to put behind them the disappointment of failing to progress from their group at the Euro 2012 finals.

Volyn Lutsk defender Vance Sikov had a header cleared off the Croatia line and Napoli forward Goran Pandev fired a shot against the crossbar as Macedonia came close to taking a surprise lead in the Balkan derby.

Croatia coach Igor Stimac, who took over after the departure of Slaven Bilic, brought on Nikica Jelavic for Eduardo in the 63rd minute and the Everton striker's introduction paid dividends.

The former Rangers player glanced a header past goalkeeper Martin Bogatinov and that was enough to secure the points against their fellow former Yugoslavs.

While the Croats will look to improve in Belgium on Tuesday, Macedonia showed enough in Zagreb to suggest they will be difficult opponents for Scotland as the home side were forced to hang on the closing stages.

Scotland coach Craig Levein, meanwhile, will face increasing pressure to change his line-up, with fans calling on new Blackburn Rovers signing Jordan Rhodes to replace the ageing and misfiring Kenny Miller up front.