Israel confident to play Euro 2020 play-off game despite lockdown

The Israel FA is confident that the fixture will go ahead as planned despite going into lockdown due to the spike of coronavirus infections. According to reports, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced new restrictions for at least three weeks. The Euro 2020 play-offs, now scheduled to take place on 8 October and 12 November will decide the final four places at the tournament.

Israel are away against Scotland at Hampden Park on October 8, while the lockdown will extend for three weeks and last beyond the game at Hampden. The winners will face either Norway or Serbia for a place at the delayed Euro 2020, scheduled to take place from 11 June to 11 July 2021. Over the weekend, Netanyahu said new cases of coronavirus in Israel had risen to 4,000 a day.

At the time of writing, the nation with a population of about nine million has more than 160,000 cases of the virus that killed more than 1,000 people. An Israeli FA spokesman told a news portal: “We do not expect a problem to fly in a chartered plane for an international game, as the Ministry of Culture and Sports will follow the same process as in the case before.”

Meanwhile, Scotland are top of Nations League group after the opening two games of the campaign ahead of the Czech Republic, Israel and Slovakia. Scotland drew 1-1 against Israelin Nations League ahead of play-off between pair Under Steve Clarke, Scotland are now unbeaten in five internationals and will be trying to win four in a row for first time since 2007.

For the first time in more than six months, fans attended an away match of Kilmarnock in the Scottish Premiership. It is still unclear if Scotland will host Israel at Hampden with fans, but Scotland boss Steve Clarke has urged UEFA and the Scottish Government to let the fans back in for their match against Israel even though players have become used to performing without fans in grounds.

“’I’d like to think there will be a crowd at the play-off, some sort of crowd inside the stadium to help the atmosphere,” Clarke said in an interview. However, the UEFA has still to decide if it will allow any fans to attend international games next month after ruling the restriction of fans in the first few games Nations League that concluded last week.

The 32-team European Championship, in celebration of the governing body’s 60th anniversary, was due to be taking place between June 12 and July 12 in countries all across the continent. Matches were due to be played in London, Baku, Munich, Rome, Saint Petersburg, Amsterdam, Bilbao, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Dublin and Glasgow.