Preview: Israel vs. Iceland 

Preview: Israel vs. Iceland 

Israel and Iceland will square off in the UEFA Nations League on Thursday evening as both nations look to bounce back from failing to qualify for the World Cup.

While the home side managed to retain their position in League B Group 2 last time out, Iceland lost all six of their fixtures in League A Group 2.

There were times during their World Cup qualifying campaign when Israel looked capable of upsetting the likes of Scotland and Austria to earn a spot in the playoffs.

However, away defeats to each of those nations during the second half of the group left Israel to settle for third spot, seven points adrift of Scotland.

On the plus side, finishing ahead of Austria represented progress for the Blue and White, who now have a new head coach in the form of Alon Hazan after his spells at varying age levels with the national team.

The nature of his progression means that the 54-year-old will be familiar with many of this squad, and expectations are high regarding promotion to League A with Russia having been kicked out of the competition.

Israel now find themselves as favourites to prevail from a three-team group which also includes Albania, and victory in Haifa will set them well on their way.

Iceland, on the other hand, no longer possess the quality which saw them qualify for major tournaments from 2016 onwards, and they have a fight on their hands to not finish in third place.

In 14 matches over the past year, their only two victories have come against the Faroe Islands and Liechenstein, the current winless streak standing at six games.

Last time out, Arnar Vidarsson witnessed his team succumb by a 5-0 scoreline in Spain, each goal being netted in a 36-minute period either side of half time.

To their credit, draws have been posted against Romania and Finland since last November, but this team are at the start of a new era with some of their experienced veterans having hung up their boots on the international stage.

Israel form (all competitions):
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Iceland form (all competitions):
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We say: Israel 3-1 Iceland
Despite Iceland having been involved in the top tier of this competition more recently, they have a battle on their hands to avoid finishing bottom of this three-nation group. This represents a tough start to their campaign, and we are expecting Israel to record a relatively comfortable win.

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