Israel blanked Faroe Islands 4-0 as superstar Eran Zahavi scored a hat-trick for a tidy World Cup qualifying victory as they now will turn their attention to their next opponent in a trio of September games.
The hosts controlled the pace of play over the first ten minutes, but Zahavi scored a first half brace which also put him at the top of the all-time leading Israeli goal scorers passing by Alon Mizrachi with his 335th and 336th markers and getting closer to Mordechai Spiegler’s National Team record. An embattled Monas Dabbur scored in the second half while Zahavi book-ended the game with an injury time strike to sew up the win.
In other Group F play Denmark defeated Scotland 2-0 and Austria downed Moldova 2-0 as Israel remained in 2nd place place and will now prepare for Austria’s visit on Saturday night at Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa which will be followed by a trip to Denmark for a date on Tuesday.
“It’s really exciting and a great feat for me,” Eran Zahavi said following the game. “I want to thank all those who helped me along the way and took part in my goals. I’m thrilled that the goals came in an important win over Faroe Islands. We won’t stop here and we will continue on. We need to have all of our fans cheering us on at Sammy Ofer on Saturday night and with them we will be able to do something very special together.”
Head Coach Willi Ruttensteiner spoke about what Eran Zahavi means to the team, “He is an enormous leader in my opinion and ver important for the team. Everybody sees the quality he has in scoring goals. I struggled with him at halftime as he said ‘don’t change me, I want to score, score, score.’ I told him that he has scored already so many goals, but you can’t imagine how professional he is and he gives everything for Israel.”
The bench boss also talked about the victory while looking ahead to the next pair of games, ”I want to give my congratulations to right team as it is very difficult to play here and I tried to respect Faroe Islands with a professional performance with the benefits being solid work. I am satisfied with the team and now we have to ready for difficult games against Austria and Denmark. Both are top teams and we saw that at the Euro. It provides great motivation and challenge if we can succeed at this level.”
The Israel National Team returned to action after a lengthy break with a matchup at the Faroe Islands where the blue-and-white looked to keep their World Cup hopes intact. This game marked the fourth of ten clashes of the Qatar 2022 campaign as Head Coach Willi Ruttensteiner’s side came into the contest with one win, a draw and a defeat.
Ruttensteiner chose a veteran laden starting lineup which included a number of players who have not seen much time for their club teams but have been anchors for the blue-and-white under the Austrian bench boss. Ofir Marciano who moved to Dutch side Feyenoord during the summer but has not played many minutes started in goal while Eli Dasa, Eitan Tibi, Oral Degani, Nir Bitton and Sun Menachem were the defenders. Dor Peretz, captain Bibras Natcho and Manor Solomon manned the midfield and supplying the offense up front were Eran Zahavi and Monas Dabbur.
The Faroe Islands looked to be the stronger squad out of the gate with a pair of excellent chances but Eran Zahavi latched onto a Bibras Natcho though ball in the 12th minute and curled it behind a helpless Gunnar Nielsen in the host’s goal for a 1-0 lead.
Zahavi almost doubled Israel’s output in the 21st minute but he couldn’t get his foot on a brilliant Eli Dasa pass into the center of the Faroe Islands box. Degani and Dabbur teamed up for a solid opportunity ten minutes later, but the Hoffenheim striker just missed the target as Israel threatened to double the lead.
Once again just before the halftime break Eran Zahavi found the back of the goal taking a Dabbur tap pass to score from 15 meters out and give the blue-and-white a 2-0 lead after 45 minutes of end to end play.
An active Dabbur and Solomon got right to work in the second half as the pair teamed up as the former scored from in close after a gorgeous dribble into the box by the latter to give Israel a 3-0 lead in the 52nd minute. Solomon tried to add a marker of his own a quarter hour later but Nielsen made a tremendous right foot save to keep the ball out of the goal.
Israel continued to press for another strike and finally found it in injury time as Zahavi slotted the ball just by the right post as the blue-and-white settled for a handy 4-0 win and will now ready for Austria.