Scotland to host Israel in Euro 2020 play-off semi-finals

By Sports Desk November 22, 2019

Scotland have been drawn against Israel in the Euro 2020 play-off semi-finals.

Aiming to reach their first major finals in 22 years, Steve Clarke's side will face Israel in a one-legged tie at Hampden Park on March 26.

The winner of that match will go on to face either Norway or Serbia in the Path C final five days later.

Scotland beat Israel 3-2 at Hampden Park last November en route to topping their Nations League group and Clarke is after a repeat result in four months' time.

"The draw is what it is," he told Sky Sports News. "I never get too carried away about who you are going to play. 

"It would been nice to repeat the home win, but the match will come with its own level of pressure, which we will have to embrace.

"Being at home is very important for us. I'm sure Hampden will be full, with the Tartan Army on the march. It's a great stadium when it's full, so if we start fast we can get them all behind us."

Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland are on course to meet in the Path B final, having been drawn away to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovakia respectively in the semis.

In Path A, Romania travel to Iceland and Bulgaria host Hungary, while Belarus are at Georgia and North Macedonia face Kosovo in Path D.

The four play-off winners will join the 20 teams that have already qualified for the finals, which will take place in 12 different cities next year.

Related items

  • Ibrahimovic: Milan renewal? I'll stay if Maldini wants me to Ibrahimovic: Milan renewal? I'll stay if Maldini wants me to

    Zlatan Ibrahimovic said he is open to extending his Milan contract if technical director Paolo Maldini "wants".

    Ibrahimovic has been a revelation since returning to Milan for a second spell in January last year, the evergreen 39-year-old spearheading the club's Scudetto charge this term.

    The former Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain star – out of contract at season's end – has scored 14 Serie A goals to help Milan up to second position, three points adrift of city rivals Inter.

    Asked about his future, Ibrahimovic told RAI's Che Tempo Che Fa via RAI: "I don't know, let's see. If Paolo wants, I am up for it.

    "The season is still long, there are many games left.

    "We always play to win, even if they can play once a week."

    Nursing an injury, Ibrahimovic has been sidelined as he participated in the Sanremo music festival during the week.

    Ibrahimovic was in attendance for Milan's 2-0 victory at Hellas Verona on Sunday.

    "I am Zlatan, I feel the responsibility and I feel like a leader. This team is the only one that made me feel thrilled. I want to teach, I want to be a guide," he added.

    "When I say something, they others are like: 'Ok, we are doing it'. Today I wanted to be in Verona, I felt it inside.

    "When I spend a day without them is like staying without my sons."

  • Lionel Messi loves Barcelona – newly elected president Laporta hopeful of stay Lionel Messi loves Barcelona – newly elected president Laporta hopeful of stay

    Joan Laporta is optimistic superstar captain Lionel Messi will remain at Barcelona after being elected president of the LaLiga giants.

    Laporta – who held the post from 2003 to 2010 – won the presential race on Sunday, seeing off competition from Victor Font and Antoni Freixa to return to the position as Josep Maria Bartomeu's successor.

    Attention will now turn to six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi amid serious doubts over his future at Camp Nou.

    Messi has been tipped to leave on a free transfer at the end of the season, with Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain and Premier League leaders Manchester City the reported frontrunners for the 33-year-old.

    After his victory, Laporta delivered a speech and said: "Today marks 20 years since a boy named Leo Messi debuted with Barcelona's Infantil B [U12-13] team.

    "Seeing the best player in the world come to vote with his son is an example of what we've said.

    "Leo loves Barcelona. That's the reflection of it. The best player in the world loves Barcelona.

    "Hopefully that will help him to stay at Barcelona. That's what we want."

    Laporta also paid tribute to Barca great Johan Cruyff, adding: "I want to thank all the members for coming out to vote what has been the most important election in the club's history due to [the effects of] the coronavirus pandemic, which has changed our lives.

    "I want to thank the members that have supported our campaign. This has been a celebration of democracy and of Barcelona. I also want to pay special thanks to Johan Cruyff, who's no longer with us. I am sure he's helped us.

    "Barcelona is a huge family and we will overcome the difficulties together. We will achieve the objectives that we have set out."

    Barca are three points adrift of LaLiga leaders Atletico Madrid, who have a game in hand.

    Ronald Koeman's Barca will face Athletic Bilbao in next month's Copa del Rey final, while they are looking to overturn a 4-1 deficit against PSG in the Champions League last 16.

  • Laporta elected as Barcelona's new president Laporta elected as Barcelona's new president

    Joan Laporta has won the race to become Barcelona's new president, with the 58-year-old seeing off competition from Victor Font and Antoni Freixa.

    Laporta, who held the post from 2003 to 2010, was the favourite to come out on top in Sunday's election, and those predictions proved correct.

    An exit poll conducted by Catalan television station TV3 projected Laporta to succeed with 58.3 per cent of the vote over Font (31.3) and Freixa (9.3).

    The final figures were not too far off – Laporta claiming 54.28 per cent of the vote (30,184 votes). In total, there were 51,983 valid votes.

    Lionel Messi and fellow first-team stars Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba were among members to cast their vote to determine the successor to Josep Maria Bartomeu, who stepped down last October, days before a planned vote of no confidence against his board.

    Interim president Carlos Tusquets has had a difficult few months, with Messi, who publically criticised Barca's hierarchy under Bartomeu, still yet to decide on his future, while Ronald Koeman's team trail Atletico Madrid in LaLiga and are 4-1 down in their Champions League last-16 tie with Paris Saint-Germain.

    The vote was scheduled to take place on January 24, yet a spike in COVID-19 cases in Spain pushed the election back six weeks.

    As well as this delay, Barca's concerns have been compounded by official debt levels of over €1billion and a legal investigation that involves Bartomeu, who was provisionally released under charges of unfair administration and corruption of business on March 3.

    However, Barca fans will now be hoping Laporta, who oversaw one of the club's most successful periods which saw them win 12 major trophies, including their first treble under Pep Guardiola, can turn the Blaugrana's fortunes around.

    Laporta has pledged to focus on "social and human" results, while also promising to restore La Masia – the club's famed academy – as a major contributor to the first team.

    He has also claimed to be the best chance Barca have of convincing Messi to sign a contract extension.

    While Koeman was only appointed last year, Laporta has reportedly considered offering the Barca post to Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta.

    Laporta hit the jackpot when he appointed the inexperienced Guardiola, who was assisted by Arteta at Manchester City, in 2008.

    With 80 per cent of the vote counted and Laporta's victory becoming clear, opposing candidate Friexa said: "I want to congratulate Laporta for this victory, which does not allow for any discussion. We must now support our President. Such a high turnout legitimises his win."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.