Israel eliminated from Euro 2024 qualifying after heavy defeat to Iceland; Ukraine advances after stunning late comeback

Israel’s hopes of reaching Euro 2024 are over after the team suffered a heavy 4-1 defeat to Iceland in Thursday’s playoff semifinal.

The game began well for Israel as Eran Zahavi, the national team’s all-time record goalscorer, broke the deadlock from the penalty spot just after the half-hour mark.

However, two quick goals from Albert Guðmundsson and Arnór Ingvi Traustason ensured Iceland went into the half-time break with the lead.

Israel was then reduced to 10 men with more than 15 minutes remaining after Roy Revivo was rightly shown a red card for a wild lunge on Arnór Sigurðsson.

But Zahavi still had a glorious chance to level the scores 10 minutes before the end after Israel was awarded another penalty, but he scuffed his effort wide of the post before burying his face in his hands.

That miss led to a late Israel capitulation as Guðmundsson scored two late goals to seal his hat-trick and secure an eye-catching victory for Iceland, which is looking to book its place at a first major tournament since the 2018 World Cup.

Israel was designated as the home team in this qualifier but has been playing its matches in Hungary due to the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

Iceland, meanwhile, will now face Ukraine for a place at Euro 2024 after the Ukrainians produced a stunning late comeback to beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 2-1 on Thursday.

After an own goal from Mykola Matviyenko had given Bosnia the lead early in the second half, Ukraine looked to be on the brink of elimination.

However, goals from from Roman Yaremchuk and Artem Dobvyk in the space of three minutes just before the end turned the game on its head and ensured Ukraine remains in with a chance of reaching a fourth straight European Championship.

Ukraine produced a late comeback to advance. - Amel Emric/Reuters
Ukraine produced a late comeback to advance. - Amel Emric/Reuters

Ukraine will be designated as the home team against Iceland, but Tuesday’s match will be played in Wrocław, Poland, due to Russia’s ongoing invasion.

Elsewhere, Wales will host Poland and Greece will travel to Georgia in the other Euro 2024 playoff finals.

Euro 2024 will be played in Germany from June 14 to July 14.

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