Israel was blanked on the road by Switzerland 3-0 in Euro 2024 qualifying on Tuesday night in what was the first loss by the blue-and-white to the Rossocrociati in official UEFA qualifying match play.
Head coach Alon Hazan made wholesale changes to his starting lineup from the first match in qualifying play against Kosovo, but those moves did not create many chances as his team will need to go back to the drawing board in the next window of qualifiers.
Ruben Vargas opened the scoring when he took advantage of a poor clearance by Eli Dasa to give the hosts a 1-0 lead in the 39th minute.
The Swiss doubled the advantage early in the second half when Zeki Amdouni pounced on a rebound, while they added a third goal in the 52nd minute as Silvan Widmer headed home the ball for a 3-0 win and the three points.
After two games, the blue-and-white has collected just a lone point in a home draw with Kosovo on Saturday as it will now have to wait until June for the next matches, when it will play at Belarus and will welcome Andorra at home in Israel.
Kosovo and Andorra
On the positive side, Kosovo drew 1-1 with Andorra in its second group game which keeps Israel in the mix early on and should the blue-and-white get solid results in its two next games, it will be back in contention for one of the two spots available in the group for the European championships.
“We tried to play with them but we all saw their quality and they are far superior than everyone else in this group,” Hazan said. “The players wanted to be focused, but we weren’t when we gave up two quick goals in the second half. Still, some of the players who came in as substitutes tried to do something, whether it was Oscar Gloukh or Sagiv Yehezkel.”
Israel forward Manor Solomon reflected on the loss.
“Things didn’t go well for us. We opened up well, but we played a very tough team and we rightfully lost. This is still just the start of the campaign and we will need to find points in other places. Tonight, each time this thing or that thing didn’t work, but we have to move on.”
Goalkeeper Omri Glazer also looked back at the defeat.
“We knew that this was going to be a tough game and we wanted to take points, which we didn’t, but it’s very difficult to do so against a team like Switzerland.”