Israel beat Latvia 3-0 on Friday night in Riga, thanks to a hat trick from Eran Zahavi, defying expectations by staying in contention for a spot in the final tournament due to take place next summer in 12 cities in 12 European countries.
Zahavi curled in a free kick in the ninth minute and added two more goals in the second half, giving him seven in three qualifiers.
“I was happy to make the crowd happy,” said Zahavi, according to Channel 12 news.
On Monday, the Israeli national side will play an away game against group leader Poland. Poland is at the top of Group G with nine points, and Israel in second place with seven.
In the last rounds of qualifiers before the summer break, world champion France and powerhouses Croatia, Germany and Italy will be in action on Saturday while the Netherlands, Portugal, England and Switzerland wrap up play in UEFA’s inaugural Nations League final four on Sunday.
AP contributed to this report.