LONDON (AFP) — Scotland won their first ever penalty shootout to beat Israel in the Euro 2020 semi-final playoffs.
Eran Zahavi, Israel’s star player who recently signed for Holland’s PSV Eindhoven, had his penalty saved in the shootout.
Scotland are now one game away from their first major tournament in 22 years when they travel to Serbia on November 12, but were pushed all the way after neither side could find the net in 120 minutes at Hampden.
“It its another step forward to hopefully making a bit of history for the country,” said Scotland boss Steve Clarke. “Qualification is still in our hands. We know we’ve got a tough game but it is one that we’ll look forward to.
“I can feel there is something building. It’s another game unbeaten and you can feel the elation in the dressing room.”
Clarke’s preparations were thrown into chaos on Wednesday when three key players were ruled out.
Stuart Armstrong tested positive for coronavirus, while Kieran Tierney and Ryan Christie were forced into self-isolation for being in close contact with the Southampton midfielder.
The goal-threat and creativity offered by Armstrong and Christie was badly missed as Scotland labored to break down an Israeli side that has won just one of their last 10 internationals, including a 1-1 draw when they visited Hampden in the Nations League last month.
Manchester United’s Scott McTominay spurned the best chance of the game when he headed wide when completely unmarked from a corner just before half-time and Liam Cooper’s header hit the post with the last action of extra-time.
However, McTominay redeemed himself in the shootout as all five of Scotland’s penalty takers found the net, while David Marshall saved from Zahavi.
“Saving the first penalty breaks them a bit and gave us confidence,” said Marshall.
“The last four penalties from us were a real high standard – the lads have practiced every day. It’s more relief than anything.”