Israel handed World Cup lifeline

By Danny Caro, September 10, 2009

Israel were handed a World Cup lifeline as a late goal from Moldova in Greece saw the group’s bottom team claim an unlikely draw, a result which keeps the group, and Israel’s hopes, alive.

Even after Israel’s 7-0 win over Luxembourg last night, it looked as though the writing was on the wall for Dror Kashtan’s men following Saturday disastrous home defeat against Latvia.

Now, Kashtan is looking for a football miracle next month. Israel finish with matches at home to Moldova on October 10 followed by a trip to Switzlerland four days later.

Their cause has also been helped by the manner of last night’s victory, which has seen them become top-scorers in the group.

With Switzerland drawing 2-2 in Latvia, Israel know that victory in their last two matches, would keep them in contention, although their destiny has been out of their own hands for some time.

Wednesday night’s results mean that if Greece draw against an improving Latvia, and Israel and Switzerland win their penultimate matches, then Israel would go to Switzerland, who could have already qualified, lying second in the group.

Israel do not fare well in the head-to-heads but while all looked bleak 24 hours ago, they still have a chance.

Group 2
Switzerland Pl. 8, W. 5, D. 2, L, 1. F. 15, A. 8, Pts. 17
Latvia Pl. 8, W. 4, D. 2, L. 2, F. 13, A.7 Pts. 14
Greece Pl. 8, W. 4, D. 2, L. 2, F. 13, A. 8, Pts. 14
Israel Pl. 8, W. 3, D. 3, L. 2, F. 17, A. 9, Pts. 12
Luxembourg Pl. 8, W. 1, D. 2, L. 5, F. 3, A. 20, Pts. 5
Moldova Pl. 8, W. 0, D. 3, L. 5, F. 3, A. 12, Pts. 3

Head to heads:

Israel: vs Switzerland 2-2
Vs Latvia 1-1//lost 0-1
Vs Greece 1-1/lost 2-1

Remaining fixtures:

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Greece v Latvia
Israel v Moldova
Luxembourg v Switzerland

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Greece v Luxembourg
Latvia v Moldova
Switzerland v Israel

An explanation of FIFA’s qualification format, in order of the tie-breakers for teams that finish level on points:

1. goal difference in all group matches
2.greater number of goals scored in all group matches

Where teams are still not able to be separated, the following tie-breakers are used:

1.greater number of points obtained in matches between the tied teams
2. goal difference in matches between the tied teams
3. greater number of goals scored in matches between the tied teams

Where teams are still equal, then a play-off on neutral ground, with extra time and penalties if necessary will be played if FIFA deems such a play-off able to be fitted within the coordinated international match calendar.

If this is not deemed feasible, then the result will be determined by the drawing of lot.

Last updated: 1:28pm, September 22 2009