Late Israel equaliser puts Switzerland's Euro 2024 qualification on ice

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Late Israel equaliser puts Switzerland's Euro 2024 qualification on ice

The Swiss would have secured qualification with a win
The Swiss would have secured qualification with a winAFP
Switzerland were denied the chance to become the latest team to book their place at UEFA Euro 2024 after conceding a late equaliser to Israel, as the Group I match in the unfamiliar surroundings of Pancho Arena in Felcsút, Hungary, ended 1-1.

The Swiss controlled the tempo in the early stages, and their first real chance came in the 10th minute when Ruben Vargas brought down a ball over the top and struck towards goal, only to be denied by Omri Glazer.

Israel’s shot-stopper was required again five minutes later to keep out Granit Xhaka’s direct free-kick as the Swiss continued to probe for an opener.

Determined to make the most of their dominant start, Murat Yakin’s men came within inches of taking the lead before the half-hour mark, but Noah Okafor’s shot cannoned back off the crossbar, while Vargas was adjudged to have fouled Sean Goldberg when tucking home the rebound.

A spectator for 33 minutes, Yann Sommer was called into action for the first time in unlikely circumstances. Picking the ball up five yards inside his own half, Dor Turgeman turned and - without checking Sommer’s position - unleashed a spectacular effort which needed to be tipped behind by the visitors’ keeper.

Despite that scare, Switzerland took a deserved lead in the 36th minute, as Edimilson Fernandes picked out Vargas at the back post, and the Augsburg man sent a clinical header past Glazer.

He nearly had a second five minutes later, when he ran onto Okafor’s flicked pass between the lines, but his powerful effort struck the bar.

Swiss players celebrate the opening goal
Swiss players celebrate the opening goalAFP

Playing their second of four matches in 10 days, Israel came out of the blocks quickly in the second half, with Turgeman again their main threat. He went on a mazy run down the left wing before picking out the head of Anan Khalaili with a cross, but Khalaili became the third player to be denied by the crossbar.

The Skyblue and Whites felt hard done by soon after when a penalty was not awarded either by Taylor or VAR after an alleged handball by Cedric Zesiger. Having somewhat ridden their luck, Switzerland attempted to kill the game off, coming close through Denis Zakaria’s shot from the edge of the area which required a good save from Glazer.

Key match stats
Key match statsFlashscore

The Nati looked like they had done enough to secure a hard-fought three points, but in the 89th minute, Israel found a dramatic leveller when a cross from the left wing was not cleared, and ricocheted into the path of substitute Shon Weissman, who turned and drilled a shot beyond Sommer.

A lengthy VAR check for a possible offside followed, but this time the decision went Israel’s way and the goal stood.

Group I standings after the match
Group I standings after the matchFlashscore

Switzerland's next chance to seal a spot at their sixth European Championship will come on Saturday when they welcome Kosovo, and Yakin will not be able to call on Fernandes, who was sent off in injury time for a shocking tackle on Turgeman.

Meanwhile, Israel must beat Romania to keep their automatic qualification hopes alive, but they are at least guaranteed a play-off place.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Ruben Vargas (Switzerland)

See all the match stats here.

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