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FOOTBALL ANDI Herzog believes Israel have been handed a golden opportunity to reach the Euro 2020 finals, after being drawn in Group G with Poland, Austria, Slovenia, Macedonia and Latvia.
Israel have never reached the Euro finals, but seeded in the third tier pot, they managed to avoid all of Europe’s big guns, with Poland and Austria being drawn out of the first and second tier pots.
The top two teams in the group will qualify automatically, with the third placed teams going into a playoff round.
“It seems to me that all the teams in this group are satisfied with what is a very interesting draw,” said Israel’s manager Austrian-born Herzog, who expressed excitement at the prospect of playing against his home nation. “We have a great chance to progress but we’ll have to work very hard. It will be crazy that I’ll be coaching Israel against Austria, where I was born and played.”
Israel midfielder Eran Zahavi described the draw as “a real opportunity to fulfil our potential”. He said: “There are no games we cannot win and no opponents we can take lightly.
“We must continue strengthening the positive things we saw in the Nations League, where I felt a real change for the better in the team.”
Israel’s opening matches will be at home to Slovenia on March 21 followed by Austria on March 24.
Other fixtures: June 7 - Latvia (a), June 10 - Poland (a), Sept 5 - Macedonia (h), Sept 9 - Slovenia (a), Oct 10 - Austria (a), Oct 15 - Latvia (h), Nov 16 - Poland (h), Nov 19 - Macedonia (a)