Team news and stats ahead of Scotland vs Israel in the European Qualifying play-off semi-finals live on Sky Sports (kick-off 7.45pm).
Here are two teams that know each other very well – Thursday’s encounter represents the fourth meeting in two years between Scotland and Israel. Both sides have registered one win apiece – both at home – with the other a 1-1 draw last month in the Nations League.
Scotland have lost just one of their previous six matches against Israel – a 2-1 Nations League defeat in October 2018 – but their two previous play-off ties in European Qualifying have seen them eliminated. They were beaten 2-1 on aggregate by England in November 1999 and lost 6-1 on aggregate to the Netherlands in November 2003.
Playing in Path C, the winner of this tie will face either Serbia or Norway in the European Qualifying play-off final on November 12.
It was announced on Wednesday that Stuart Armstrong had tested positive for coronavirus and will therefore miss the upcoming internationals for Scotland. Kieran Tierney and Ryan Christie have also been identified as close contacts and will also have to self-isolate. Scott McKenna, Oliver Burke and Liam Palmer are also sidelined through injury, along with James Forrest.
Oli McBurnie and Ryan Fraser have been recalled for the latest round of matches after missing out in September, although Fraser has been short of match fitness after a summer move to Newcastle. Ryan Jack was expected to miss out with a calf injury, but after returning to training with Rangers last week, he has also been handed a call-up alongside Lawrence Shankland, who withdrew last time because of an ankle injury.
Two of Israel’s starting players from last month’s meeting – Taleb Tawatha and Dor Peretz – have been ruled out after testing positive for coronavirus. Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Mohammad Abu Fani – who made headlines for comments made about Harry Kane earlier this month – and Dan Bitton have been called up for the first time.
How to follow
Scotland vs Israel will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Main Event from 7pm; Kick-off at 7.45pm. Sky Sports customers can watch in-game goals in the live match blog on the Sky Sports website and app. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.
What the managers have said
Scotland manager Steve Clarke: “We have lost six players from the squad. It is up to us to make the nation smile tomorrow night. We know we have the nation behind us.
Everyone is aware of the size of the game. It is a knockout competition now and we will have to deal with it. It can go to 120 minutes, and it can go penalties. I always did it as a club manager that if you are going into a game that is going to penalties, then that week, in training, at then end of the sessions let everybody take a penalty and see what happens.
“But we know that taking one on a training pitch, and taking one in a stadium where there is a lot riding on it is a totally different experience.”
- Israel’s only previous play-off tie in qualifying for the European Championship was back in November 1999, losing 8-0 on aggregate to Denmark.
- Scotland have won their last three European Championship qualifiers, last winning four consecutively back in October 2007.
- Since their last win in October 2019 against Latvia, Israel haven’t led for a single minute in any of their four matches, losing two and drawing two, including one at Hampden Park in September, equalising through Eran Zahavi in the second half to draw 1-1.
- Scotland’s John McGinn has scored six goals and assisted one more in his last three appearances in European Championship qualifying – he has seven goals in total in EURO 2020 qualifying, with no other Scottish player scoring more than once.
- Israel’s Eran Zahavi has been directly involved in 20 goals in his last 19 appearances in European Championship qualifying (13 goals, 7 assists), although he hasn’t registered a goal or assist in his last two such appearances.
International Break? Not For Super 6!
During the brief international break, there is still £250,000 up for grabs with Super 6. Play for free, entries by 3pm Saturday.