Scotland to host Israel in Euro 2020 soccer play-off
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Scotland to host Israel in Euro 2020 soccer play-off

The Scots will be familiar foes for Israel after the two teams played each other twice in the recent Nations League

Scotland's Callum McGregor  (L) shoots by Israel's Omri Ben Harush during Nations League game in Haifa, Israel, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Scotland's Callum McGregor (L) shoots by Israel's Omri Ben Harush during Nations League game in Haifa, Israel, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

PARIS — Scotland was drawn Friday to play Israel in Glasgow in the Euro 2020 soccer play-off semi-finals next March.

Scotland, which performed poorly in the main qualifying campaign but did win its final three matches, will fancy its chances at home to an Israel team ranked 89th in the world and which finished fifth out of six teams in qualifying Group G.

That game will be played at Hampden Park on March 26. However, Friday’s draw at UEFA headquarters also revealed which team would be at home in the play-off finals on March 31, and Scotland — which is in Path C — now know it will have to go to either Norway or Serbia and win if it is to reach a first major tournament since the 1998 World Cup.

Scotland was in the same Nations League group as Israel last year, losing 2-1 away in Haifa but then winning 3-2 in Glasgow thanks to a James Forrest hat-trick.

Scotland’s Callum McGregor shoots by Israel’s Omri Ben Harush during Nations League game in Haifa, Israel, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Home carrot for Northern Ireland

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland discovered that it will be at home in the play-off final in Path B should it manage to win their semi-final in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Republic of Ireland could be its opponent, although Mick McCarthy’s team must first win in Slovakia.

In Path D, Georgia and Belarus meet for the right to host either North Macedonia or Kosovo in the final, with whichever emerging victorious progressing to a first ever major tournament finals.

In Path A, Iceland will host Romania with the winner of that tie traveling to face either Bulgaria or Hungary in the final.

The format for the 24-team finals — which for the first time will be staged in 12 cities in 12 different nations across the continent — is a complex one.

UEFA also had to perform another draw on Friday to confirm that Denmark will play all three pool matches at home in Copenhagen in Group B, including against Russia, despite Saint Petersburg being the other host city for the section. Belgium have already been placed in the same group.

The final draw for the tournament itself will be held in Bucharest next Saturday, November 30.

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