Israel to play Scotland in Euro playoffs

Israel will face Scotland in their one-off Euro 2020 play-off semi-final at Hampden Park on 26 March.


And if Andi Herzog's side progress, they will be away to Norway or Serbia for a finals place five days later.

Israel were one of four 'Path C' teams, alongside Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary, Scotland could have drawn.

Israel beat Scotland, then managed by Alex McLeish, 2-1 on home soil last 2018 before losing to the Scots 3-2 at Hampden the following month, meaning the Scots to topped the Nations League group.

Israel, who finished fifth in their Euro qualifying group have never reached the European Championships finals before. Herzog's side sit in 89th place in FIFA world rankings, 36 places below Scotland, and they know they must improve their away form after losing their last four matches in their travels in the qualifiers.

Scotland manager Steve Clarke was in confident mood after the draw. "The good thing about playing Israel is that, although I wasn't the manger, a lot of the players played against Israel in the Nations League and will have a good understanding of what to expect," he said.

"I'm sure we'll go in as favourites because we have home advantage. The crowd at Hampden can be a big plus for us, I'm sure the stadium will be full and it's up to us to perform.

"The most important thing is we are a host nation and don't want to be standing on the sidelines watching someone else enjoying themselves in Glasgow."

Clarke and his players will be wary of Israel striker Eran Zahavi. He scored 11 goals in ten qualifying games and the 32-year-old also claimed a goal and an assist at Hampden in the last meeting with Scotland.

And Israel head coach Herzog will call on the knowledge of goalkeeper Ofir Marciano, who plays for Hibs, and Nir Bitton, a defensive midfielder for SPL champions Celtic. Beram Kayal, now at Charlton Athletic, previously played for Celtic.

Should Israel progress to the Euro finals, they would be in the same group as England, Croatia and the Czech Republic.

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