Five players scored as Denmark beat Israel 5-0 on Tuesday to put the Danes on the verge of securing a place at the 2022 World Cup with barely half of the qualifying games played and badly dent Israel’s prospects.
After reaching the semifinals at the European Championship, the Danes now have a perfect record of winning all six of their World Cup qualifying games so far without conceding a goal. One more win could secure a spot at next year’s tournament in Qatar.
For Israel, it was an abrupt return to reality after the euphoria of its 5-2 win against Austria on Saturday.
Israel came into the game in second place in Group F but the closest it came to scoring was when Eran Zahavi put the ball in the net early on, only for it to be ruled out for offside. Otherwise, Israel didn’t record a shot on target.
Yussuf Poulsen got Denmark going in the 28th minute with a goal on the rebound after Israeli goalkeeper Ofir Marciano failed to hold Mikkel Damsgaard’s volley. Three minutes later, Denmark captain Simon Kjaer headed in his team’s second goal from a free kick, before goals from Andreas Skov Olsen and Thomas Delaney.
Andreas Cornelius capped the win with a fifth goal in stoppage time, Denmark’s 22nd in just six qualifying games.
Denmark leads the group by seven points from Scotland, which beat Austria 1-0 to move up to second in the group.
“Denmark was better than us by every parameter,” Zahavi told Channel 12 news after the game. “We will have to beat Scotland to get something out of this.”
Israel plays Scotland in a pivotal game on October 9.
Finishing second in Group F would give Israel or Scotland a playoff spot and a shot at reaching the World Cup. Scotland has not made it since 1998, while Israel has not qualified since Mexico in 1970.
Depending on results elsewhere, Denmark could guarantee first place and a qualifying spot in its next game against Moldova. Denmark beat Moldova 8-0 in their previous meeting.
Scotland managed a win in Vienna thanks to a 30th-minute penalty from Lyndon Dykes, awarded for a foul on Che Adams following a video review. Scotland goalkeeper Craig Gordon kept his team ahead with a superb save to deny Christoph Baumgartner at a corner in the 79th. The Austrian crowd booed the team at the final whistle.
Also in the group, the Faeroe Islands beat Moldova 2-1.