Blue-and-white beaten 2-0 by Denmark National Team opens World Cup qualifying campaign with loss at Bloomfield • Scotland on tap.
Israel fell to Denmark 2-0 on Thursday night as the blue-and-white opened up 2022 World Cup qualifying with a disappointing result in front of 5,000 fans at Bloomfield Stadium.
Martin Braithwaite beat ’keeper Ofir Marciano in the first half while Jonas Wind added an insurance marker in the second half to help the Danes take the three points.
Israel entered its first International match of 2021 against a Denmark team that it had beaten only once, back in 1978, while having lost seven times, most recently in a 2006 friendly.
Head coach Willi Ruttensteiner’s starting lineup against the 12th-ranked country in the world included Marciano, defenders Eli Dasa, Hatem El Hamed, Eitan Tibi, Joel Abu Hana and Sun Menachem. Captain Bibras Natcho, Dor Peretz, Manor Solomon were the midfielders while Munas Dabbur and Eran Zahavi played up front.
On the other side of the pitch, Kasper Hjulmand’s starting XI featured ’keeper Kasper Schmeichel, captain Simon Kjær, Joakim Mæhle, Andreas Christensen, Christian Eriksen, Thomas Delaney, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Daniel Wass, Martin Braithwaite, Yussuf Poulsen and Jonas Wind.
Wass had Denmark’s first chance of the game in the second minute, but his blistering shot off the right wing just went wide of the goal.
However, 10 minutes later Braithwaite took a Wind backwards head flick off a Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg long pass, turned defender Tibi and then chipped the ball over a helpless Marciano for a 1-0 lead.
Zahavi’s header off a El Hamed cross was saved by Schmeichel while Wind’s header off an Eriksen corner was punched away by Marciano in the 27th minute.
Dabbur had chance in the 42nd minute, but his driving attempt went wide right of the goal as the half ended with Denmark ahead 1-0.
Dasa tried to get Israel level in the 48th minute, but his attempt came up short while Braithwaite’s chance at the other end of the pitch was smothered by an oncoming Marciano.
Solomon and Zahavi had back-to-back chances to no avail as the blue-and-white continued to search for the equalizer.
Wind took the wind out of Israel’s sails in the 67th minute as the striker’s left-footed volley off an errant El Hamed header in the box gave Denmark a 2-0 advantage. Braithwaite hit the woodwork as Denmark looked to add another goal, but the visitors had to settle for two on this night as they wrapped up the victory.
The trio of Group F World Cup qualifiers will continue on Sunday when Israel hosts Scotland at Bloomfield Stadium as it will welcome in a number of very familiar faces. The blue-and-white have played the Tartan Army five times since 2018 in UEFA Nations League and UEFA European Championship action, with each side winning two games with one draw.
Steve Clarke, who has been in charge of the Scots the past three clashes, will once again be on the sidelines while his side will be captained by Liverpool left back Andy Robertson. Other important squad members will include Arsenal defender Kieran Tierney, Manchester United center-back Scott McTominay, Aston Villa’s John McGinn and Southampton’s Stuart Armstrong. Newcastle winger Ryan Fraser and Che Adams from Southampton will be on the attack as Derby County shot-stopper David Marshall will feature in goal.
Following Scotland’s visit, Ruttensteiner’s team will head to Chisinau to face Moldova on Wednesday night. The last time the two sides played was in 2017 as the clubs played to a 1-1 draw in an International Friendly.