Israel falls to Iceland 4-1, eliminated from European Championship contention

Mar 21, 2024 | Football

Israel fell to Iceland 4-1 in the semifinals of the European Championship playoffs and were eliminated from Euro 2024 contention as Albert Gudmundsson scored a hat trick to see the visitors through to the finals where they will face Ukraine. Alon Hazan decided to keep arguably his best player in Oscar Gloukh on the bench to begin the game that saw Eran Zahavi give Israel a 1-0 lead via the penalty spot, but Gudmundsson drew Iceland even and Arnor Ingvi Traustason gave them the lead ahead of the break.

Roy Revivo was sent off with a red card in the send half but Zahavi had a chance to level the score once again via a penalty kick but this time the striker missed wide left which opened the door for Gudmundsson to score two more goals late in the game to secure the victory and send Israel packing. Hazan’s squad was supposed to head to play Bosnia and Herzegovina in a friendly after having fallen to Ukraine.but the game was cancelled at the request of both associations due to the security situation in the Holy Land,

When you are playing with ten men and you are trying to advance in a knockout game we had to rush forward,” Israel Head Coach Alon Hazan said. “The issue was that we were winning 1-0 and we didn’t push ahead, but that’s football. when you have a chance to draw even at 2-2 with ten men it’s obviously not great to come up short but it is what it is.”

Eran Zahavi also spoke about the defeat, “It’s not pleasant as this is yet another chance that we blew. We were wining and then fell behind. We are just not good enough. We didn’t deserve to advance and we saw all of our issues and we just didn’t deserve to play in the next game. If we didn’t go into the break behind things may have looked different. The greats have missed penalties and I made one in the first half, but with ten men we would have had a hard time anyways should be have drawn even.”

“This is a huge disappointment for us,” Gaby Kanichowsky said. “They were very physical and we we couldn’t find any solutions, we weren’t good. This hurts a lot and is so disappointing I have no words to describe it. We played bit we have to remember that there are still his games being held and a war is going on which makes everything even more painful and sad, but this is the situation that we are in.”

After an opening thirty ho-hum minutes of football that saw the majority of play in the midfield, Eran Zahavi broke free and was pulled down in the box, good for a penalty which the striker promptly put behind the Iceland keeper Hakon Rain Valdimarsson to give Israel a 1-0 lead. However, it didn’t take long for the visitors to not only draw even but take the lead.

Gaby Kanichowsky’s foul allowed Albert Gudmundsson to step up a place a perfect free kick into the top right hand corner of the goal as Omri Glazer’s leaping attempt to save the ball just came up short as Iceland drew even at 1-1 in the 38th minute. Two minutes later an unmarked Arnor Ingvi Traustason was left all alone in the middle of the box as he pounded home ball to give Iceland a 2-1 advantage as the match headed into the halftime break.

Hakon Arnar Haraldsson began the second half with a scorching attempt at the Israeli goal, but Glazer was up to the task to parry the ball away while Oscar Gloukh who was introduced at the start of the half set a stunner towards the Iceland goal but the saved. Anan Khalaili and Gloukh teamed up on yet another brilliant attempt by the later but the Icelandic keeper was in the right spot to make the stop in the 60th minute.

Gudmundsson and Ramzi Safouri traded chances as the clock hit the 70th minute while just minutes later Roy Revivo was sent off with a straight red card for a two footed reckless tackle on Arnor Sigurdsson leaving Israel with ten men for the balance of the contest. However, a handball in the box off of a Zahavi free kick gave the blue-and-white goal scorer to draw Israel even but his spot kick went wide left of the goal to keep the score as is, 2-1 in favor of Iceland in the 78th minute.

With Iceland in control, Gudmundsson added his second and third goals of the game by beating Glazer first with a looping ball into the net and then slotting it home inside the area to complete a 4-1 victory to eliminate Israel from Euro 2024 contention.

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