Scotland welcome Israel to Hampden Park in their Euro 2020 Play-Off semi-final clash as both teams look to move a step closer towards next summer’s tournament.
This clash had been postponed from March after the Coronavirus pandemic forced the suspension of football with Euro 2020 pushed back to next summer, as the winner of this tie awaits a play-off final tie against Norway or Serbia on 12 November in their quest to book their spot at the finals tournament next June.
Southampton’s Stuart Armstrong is ruled out for Scotland’s three matches this month after testing positive for Coronavirus during a round of testing in line with UEFA protocols.
Kieran Tierney and Ryan Christie have also been advised to self-isolate after being in close contact with Armstrong and will also miss the Tartan Army’s next three matches.
Scott McKenna, Liam Palmer and Oliver Burke will also miss the match through injury, leaving manager, Steve Clarke with a 20-man squad available for selection.
Israel will be without Taleb Tawatha and Dor Peretz after the pair tested positive for Coronavirus and have been replaced by Mohammad Abu Fani plus Dan Bitton.
- This is Scotland’s first-ever meeting with Israel in connection to any UEFA Euro tournament, although Scotland have lost just one of six previous clashes in all competitions against Israel (W4, D1, L1).
- Scotland have failed to keep clean sheets in three previous home matches against Israel (W2, D1).
- Israel’s Eran Zahavy has scored twice against Scotland in his last two trips to Hampden Park.
- Ryan Christie has scored in three of his last four Scotland’s appearances across all competitions.
- Israel are winless in their last three away trips in all competitions (D1, L2).
Israel have been tricky opposition for Scotland in their last two meetings at Hampden Park so to lose six players is a huge concern for Scotland and in particularly Steve Clarke who has limited options with two further matches to come within the next week.
Defence and midfield in particular seems limited which is my biggest concern because Clarke is severely limited in creativity options if needed with a 3-2-3-2 formation looking a serious possibility if he wants to utilise his best players, even if it leaves them exposed in various sections of the pitch which would suit Israel nicely given their attacking threat.
Under these circumstances, I feel that Scotland seriously need to get this won in normal time otherwise Israel could take full advantage in extra time given their extra men even if this is a scrappy encounter.
Prediction: Scotland 2-1 Israel
Result: Scotland 0-0 Israel (Scotland win 5-3 on penalties)