The Israel National Team is in Vienna as they face Austria on Matchday 7 of Euro 2020 Qualifying at 21:45 Thursday night. The first time the two met this campaign saw the Blue & White shock the Austrians 4-2 at Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa. However, Israel can’t count on a repeat performance as Austria will be all in for this crucial match which sees Head Coach Andi Herzog make his return to the country he represented on an international level for many years.
Israeli striker Eran Zahavi will look to pad his goal scoring total as he leads all countries with 9 goals while Austria’s Marko Arnautovic is in second place with 6 goals. Shon Weismann will look to start alongside Zahavi up front as the Blue & White will look to stay alive for a spot at the Euros. Following today’s game, Israel will return home and get ready to play Latvia next Tuesday in Beer Sheva.
Herzog spoke at the prematch press conference, “All of the players are now fit following the issues we had last window. We are here to take 3 points. Austria in my mind is the best team at home and are of the highest quality. Israel is my National Team now and I will celebrate if we score. We just a big Holiday in Yom Kippur and I expect a big day on the pitch on Thursday.”
Captain Bibras Natcho also addressed the assembled media, “The Austrians have improved since we last met them and we have to from what happened during last few minutes against Slovenia in our last qualifier. We can take some good things but we made some mistakes that have to be corrected. I hope that we will do that.”
There’s plenty of Israeli sports on tap today, Thursday as Maccabi Tel Aviv BC plays their second Euroleague game of the young season while the Israel National Soccer Team is in action against Austria in Euro 2020 qualifying.
Maccabi Tel Aviv plays in Madrid (22:00 Israel time Thursday) as they will look to win their first game of the campaign after falling to Khimki in Moscow last week 89-83. The Yellow & Blue haven’t won in Madrid since March of 2010 and will look to break the streak before heading home for their Israeli league home opener on Monday night against Hapoel Eilat as well as their first continental clash at Yad Eliyahu this season next Thursday when they host Red Star Belgrade.
Ioannis Sfairpoulos, Maccabi’s Head Coach looked ahead to the game, “We have a game against a very solid team because they had a core of players and the same coach and philosophy for many years now. We have to play to our level, perform our game and try to stick in our plan. We need to control the rhythm of the game, which is really a very important key to this game.”
Israeli swingman Yovel Zoosman also looked towards the difficult matchup, “Madrid is a strong team, they have experienced players that played together for many years. We will try to execute the coach’s game plan in the best way possible and be aggressive throughout the game. We will do our best, hopefully taking advantage of our strengths.”
Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion fell to Virtus Bolgona 96-77 in EuroCup action. Rishon held their own through midway in the 3rd quarter when they were in the lead by two, 52-50 but then Bologna’s depth and quality came to the forefront as the host’s blew away Guy Goodes’s squad by 19 points over the last 15 minutes of play. Alex Hamilton with 18 points and Jordan Swing with 17 points led Rishon while Frank Gaines dropped 21 points and Milos Teodosic added 11 points for Bologna.
Goodes talked about the game that was, “First of all, I want to congratulate Virtus on the nice game that they played. Especially in the fourth quarter, we gambled a little bit on the shot outside. We tried to protect the paint as much as we could because we knew that Markovic and Teodosic are very good point guards at passing the ball inside, to the big men. We tried to protect the paint and gamble a little bit on their shots, but at the end of the day, Bologna punished us with 16 three-pointers, making a lot of damage.”