Israel aims to finish on a high note in World Cup qualifiers

Israel will head to its final World Cup qualifying match on Monday night against the Faroe Islands with the aim of maintaining third place in Group F.

Having lost 4-2 to Austria in Klagenfurt on Friday on the strength of a Louis Schaub brace, coupled with Scotland’s 2-0 win in Moldova, the Blue and Whites were officially eliminated from Qatar’s contest. 2022.

Head coach Willi Ruttensteiner’s team, which is now tied on 13 points with Austria, will now focus on staying ahead of “Das Team” in the standings (Israel currently have a better goal differential) to help their League of Nations and the world. classification.

While the Israelis will host the Faroe Islands at Netanya Stadium, the Austrians will welcome Moldova in last place as they will try to overtake Ruttensteiner’s side, which will be without star forward Eran Zahavi.

The Israel superstar had to be substituted from Friday night’s clash midway through the second half after sustaining a knee injury that will keep him out of action for four weeks.

Soccer – World Cup – UEFA Qualifiers – Group F – Israel v Austria – Sammy Ofer Stadium, Haifa, Israel – September 4, 2021 Shon Weissman of Israel celebrates his fourth goal with his teammates. (credit: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)

The Blue and White entered the Austrian contest in hopes of keeping their slim hopes of qualifying for the World Cup alive as Ruttensteiner’s side needed an away win to think about finding a way to second place in the group and a playoff spot.

The last time the two teams met, Israel took the lead with a 5-2 victory in September at the Sammy Ofer Stadium and appeared to double that result in Austria in front of a very sparse crowd.

“I have no answer on what happened to our defense,” Ruttensteiner lamented after the loss. “We had an excellent first half and I told the guys at halftime that if we corrected some of our mistakes we could win this game with five or six goals.

“But I don’t know what we came up with. It is difficult for me to find the reasons and if I knew why then I could correct them. We showed character in the second half and took a 2-1 lead, but too many mistakes on our part in the second half hurt us. “

Manor Solomon also reflected on the crushing defeat.

“This was very difficult and it was not the first time that happened to us. This has happened so many times. We wanted to keep the lead and not back down, but it was not like that, as they tied the” We did not know how to defend correctly and maintain the result. We were so messy on the field and we are very disappointed. “

Solomon then commented on the importance of the Faroese duel.

“Monday’s game will be a battle,” he continued. “First of all, we have to win and it will not be so easy to do so even though we won the last game 4-0. It wasn’t easy and they caused us a lot of trouble. We have a goal advantage over Austria and we have to win to keep third place ”.

Israel goalkeeper Ofir Marciano also spoke about the importance of the qualifying final.

“We want to finish the group game in third place, so we have a lot to play for. We always want to give 100% for the national team and everyone dreams of playing for Israel. Every game with the national team is important ”.

For Austria, the victory over Israel was a great rebound.

“It’s a great feeling as we deserved this victory and it was important for several reasons,” said David Alaba of Real Madrid. “We did not forget the 5-2 loss in the first game at Sammy Ofer Stadium and this was an open topic for us. We had a disappointing campaign so this victory was a good step. “

Israel captain Bibras Natcho was substituted early Friday night due to injury, but that didn’t stop Israel from taking a 1-0 lead with a free kick from Nir Bitton that strayed off an Austrian defender and entered. on Daniel Bachmann’s goal at 32. minute.

With the confidence of the Blue and Whites heading into the second half, defender Sun Menacham tripped Philipp Lienhart in the area and gave Franco Foda’s team a penalty, which Marko Arnautovic quickly put behind Marciano to draw 1-1 in the 50th minute.

However, the Israeli players did not lower their heads for long as Shakhtar Donetsk star Solomon threw a corner kick into the Austria area that Italian Serie A midfielder Dor Peretz quickly headed into goal for an advantage. 2-1 in the 59th minute.

But the visitors did not hold the lead for long, as Schaub’s shot into the corner of Marciano’s goal from 15 meters tied the score at 2-2 with about half an hour of match remaining.

Ten minutes later, it was Schaub once again who scored to bring Austria to the lead, while Marcel Sabitzer added a sure goal in the 84th minute to close out the 4-2 win and end Israel’s dreams in Qatar. .

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