Soccer / israel
Scotland v Israel UEFA Nations League Preview
Alex McLeish’s Scotland welcome Israel to Hampden Park on Tuesday for the last game in League C Group 1 of the UEFA Nations League. With Israel and Scotland on 6 points, this game is of double importance to both teams. The winner takes top spot and is also guaranteed a play-off spot at Euro 2020. Scotland have lost 4 of their last 6 and Saturday’s 4-0 win over Albania is only their second win in the previous 6 and their third all year. Ryan Fraser continued a good start to the season by netting the first goal in the 18th minute before Steven Fletcher and a double from James Forrest wrapped up the night for the Tartan Army. The managerial situation however remains topsy turvy for Alex McLeish who has only won a third of his games in charge but the 4-0 win in Shkoder will have infused life into their UEFA Nations League quest and brought a real chance of fighting for a place at EURO 2020. Ranked 91st in FIFA football rankings, Israel currently sit top of the group on 6 points with victories over Scotland and Albania in 2 of the 3 games played so far. They travel to Glasgow high on confidence off the back of a 3 game winning streak. That run began with the 2-1 comeback win over Scotland in Haifa last month. Despite Charlie Mulgrew helping Scotland to a lead early on via a penalty, a Dor Peretz leveler and an own goal from Kieran Tierney off a Beram Kayal cross lifted Israel to a win. On Thursday last week, goals from Eran Zahavi, Taleb Tawatha, Moanes Dabour, Dia Sabar and Ben Sahar ensured a 7-0 whitewashing of Guatemala to make it a third straight win for Israel. Andi Herzog’s side have 3 wins from their last 6 games and before this winning streak, had lost 5 of their last 6. Tuesday’s clash will be the 5th meeting between the two sides with Scotland winning 3 of the previous 4 duels. These two sides met in a world cup qualifier in 1981 with Scotland recording wins both home and away. On Tuesday, both sides meet for the first time in 32 years and Israel only need a draw to claim top spot in the Group due to their head-to-head result against Scotland while Alex McLeish’s side will have to go all out for a win to gain promotion to league B. Team News Scotland are missing an array of players including John McGinn, Mikey Devlin, Craig Gordon, Jon McLaughlin, Charlie Mulgrew, Stephen O’Donnell, Kevin McDonald and Ryan Jack. John Souttar, Steven Naismith and Leigh Griffiths are all injured and not included in the 23-man squad. Matt Richie and Robert Snodgrass are unavailable while James McArthur has retired from International duty. Sheffield United John Fleck has been called up to replace John McGinn while it is not yet clear whether Kieran Tierney will be available for this fixture after withdrawing from the trip to Albania due to injury. Israel have their squad fit for this game with no injury concerns. Verdict Revenge, top Spot, a play-off spot are the motivations for Alex McLeish’s side. That and Israel not being a good travelling team should sway this game in Scotland’s favour. Scotland will be full of beans following the 4-0 away win against Albania and I think they will just about cross the winning line and win the game.
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