Israel managed to secure a 1-1 draw against Switzerland in their European Championship qualifier, thanks to an 88th-minute goal. The match took place in neutral territory, Hungary, on Wednesday. This result keeps Israel’s chances alive for qualifying for next year’s finals in Germany.
The Swiss were just two minutes away from securing their spot in the finals, but Shon Weissman’s last-minute goal now requires them to defeat Kosovo this weekend in order to guarantee their qualification.
Switzerland, who remain undefeated, have taken the lead in Group I with a total of 16 points from eight games. However, they are only ahead of Romania on goal difference. Israel is currently in third place with 12 points, and all three countries have two matches remaining.
In the 36th minute, Ruben Vargas scored for Switzerland by heading in a cross from Edimilson Fernandes, giving them a promising lead in the game.
Weisman scored the tying goal when Fernandes was unable to clear the ball, and things got worse for the Swiss full-back when he received a red card in added time for a reckless foul.
In the game, Switzerland hit the goal frame two times. The first was in the 19th minute by Noah Okafor. Although Vargas scored on the rebound, it was deemed a foul on defender Sean Goldberg. Later, Vargas almost scored again, but his powerful shot hit the crossbar.
After halftime, Israel appeared to be a much more formidable team. They had a chance to tie the game early in the second half when Dor Turgeman passed the ball to Anan Khalaili, but Khalaili’s header hit the crossbar. Turgeman also nearly scored with a bold long-range shot from his own half, which caused Yann Sommer to quickly retreat and deflect the ball over the crossbar.
The scheduled match, which was supposed to take place last month, was delayed due to safety concerns in Israel after the conflict with Palestinian organization Hamas. As a result, Israel will have to play four games within nine days to finish their qualifying campaign. On Sunday, they faced a 1-0 defeat in Kosovo and will now face Romania at the Puskas Academy Arena in the outskirts of Budapest on Saturday. Their final game will be against Andorra on the following Tuesday.
The Swiss will face Kosovo in Basel this Saturday and then finish their campaign with an away match in Romania on Tuesday.