The Israel National Team drew 1-1 with Switzerland in dramatic fashion as Shon Weissman’s 88th minute goal kept the blue-and-white’s hopes alive to advance to the 2024 European Championships.
Ruben Vargas gave Switzerland a 1-0 lead late in the first half but an Israel team that wouldn’t give up found the tying goal late in the game when Weissman scored in the box off a corner kick to split the points and give the team an opportunity to live to play another day in their attempt to qualify for the Euros.
Up next for Israel is a must win date with Romania on Saturday night followed by an away tilt in Andorra while Switzerland plays Kosovo and then Romania to finish off the campaign.
“We played with young talented players in this game,” Alon Hazan said. “They took a great amount of responsibility in the second half and I told the guys that they needed to show their passion and love for the game in order to put in a quality performance. We made some terrific team plays as well as individual ones. I’m very proud of the guys and now we have to keep moving on.”
The goal scorer Shon Weissman spoke about the situation in Israel and the meaning of his goal for the country, “Although this was a tying goal it was exciting as we think about all of the hostages and their families, I hope that we could give our country a little bit of pride. I saw the families of the hostages here in the stadium, so who am I to complain about anything or having not played recently. It was an incredible moment as I can’t get my mind off of our young IDF soldiers who are battling for the nation. We all hope that they come back safely. I am here for Israel in any which way.”
The blue-and-white hosted Switzerland at the Puskás Akadémia Pancho Aréna in Felcsut due to the ongoing war taking place in Israel as they looked to pick up their first win in the set of four games that will end their European Championship qualification campaign. Head coach Alon Hazan made wholesale changes to his starting lineup that featured Omri Glazer in goal along with a backline of Ofir Davidzada, Raz Shlomo, Sean Goldberg and captain Eli Dasa. Muhammad Abu Fani, Neta Lavi and Ramzi Safouri featured in the midfield while Idan Tokolomati, Annan Khalaili and Dor Turgeman played up front.
Israel played Switzerland fairly tight throughout the first half, but Ruben Vargas was left all alone in the box as he gave the visitors a 1-0 right before heading into the break. The blue-and-white searched high and low for an equalizer and finally found it as Shon Weissman fired the ball into the Swiss goal off a corner to draw Israel even at 1-1 in the 88th minute.
With the hosts now looking for a go ahead goal, Switzerland tried to just hang on which led to a Edimilson Fernandes straight red card off a reckless tackle on Dor Turgeman to give Israel an extra man as the match headed to injury time. However, Israel couldn’t take advantage of the situation as the contest ended in a draw with both teams picking up a point with two games remaining in qualifying.