Israel’s hopes of qualifying for next summer’s Euro 2016 Championships were dealt a major blow on Tuesday night after they were beaten 1-0 by 10-man Belgium in Jerusalem.
Needing to finish in the top-two of their group to guarantee their place in next summer’s tournament, while a third place finish could see them have to contest a play-off tie to reach France, the Belgian defeat came on the back of a 3-0 home loss to Wales on Saturday night. Going into the two games leading group B, they now find themselves in third spot in the table, two points behind Wales and Belgium.
Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini scored Belgium’s winner in the ninth minute, and they held on for the win despite playing the last half hour with ten men after Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany was sent-off for a second yellow card.
However, despite the defeats, Israel manager Eli Guttman was proud of his side’s display against the Belgians and is confident they can still finish as group runners-up. He said: “We didn’t deserve to lose this match – one moment of lost concentration and the whole game went.
“This was the Israeli team I wanted to see, dynamic and eager. We saw an Israel team that battled and played modern football. It’s a pity we didn’t get something from the game.
“The goal we conceded angers me because we had markers on all the players, yet we lost focus and that hurts.
“I’m going home tonight a different man than after the game against Wales. We played against a team rated fourth in the world and we pushed them hard. I want to thank our wonderful crowd. The match against Bosnia is now crucial and we hope to push on and finish second in the group.”