Israel start Euro campaign against Malta

By Simon Griver, April 1, 2010

Israel will hope for a flying start to their Euro 2012 qualifiers at home to Malta in early September.

The fixture news comes on the heels of the appointment of manager Luis Fernandez as the successor to Dror Kashtan.

The easy looking opener will be followed by a much tougher fixture in Georgia on September 7.

There will be two crucial games the following month as Israel host Croatia before travelling to Greece a few days later.

"There are no easy games in football but it is vital we win our first two games," Fernandez said. "Then we can think about Croatia and Greece."

Israel's Euro Dates

2010 - Malta (h) September 3/4, Georgia (a) September 7, Croatia (h) October 8/9, Greece (a) October 12

2011 - Latvia (h) March 25/26, Georgia (h) March 29, Latvia (a) June 4/5, Greece (h) September 2/3, Croatia (a) September 6, Malta (a) October 11

The games are scheduled to take place on Fridays and Tuesdays but Israel FA chairman Avi Luzon insists that no home games will be played on Shabbat. "We will try and switch the homes matches to Saturday night but if we cannot get agreement from visiting teams, we will play on Fridays before Shabbat."

However, teams coming to Ramat Gan will be reluctant to play on Friday in the heat of the day.

Georgia agreed to switch their fixture at Ramat Gan, which had been scheduled for Yom Kippur next year, to March 29.

The draw for the fixtures was made during the Uefa congress in Tel Aviv, where more than 300 heads of world football came to the Tel Aviv Hilton. Michel Platini, the Uefa president, announced that he would be seeking a second term.

Last updated: 12:23pm, April 1 2010