Can Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland edge closer to Euro

Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will all play in the European Qualifying play-off semi-finals on Thursday as they edge closer to a spot at Euro 2020.

The original play-off ties were due to be played in March but after a global lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, the fixtures were postponed, as was the Euro 2020 tournament itself.

Now, those fixtures are being played for next summer’s rearranged competition and will be a one-off fixture on October 8 before the finals on November 12.

For the first time, teams must come through more than one round to reach Euro 2020 and, unlike all previous editions, sides have qualified to participate in the play-offs via the Nations League rather than the European Qualifiers.

An old foe for Scotland

Scotland vs Israel – 7.45pm kick-off, live on Sky Sports Main Event from 7pm

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Highlights of the UEFA Nations League Group B2 match between Scotland and Israel

Here are two teams that know each other very well – Thursday’s encounter represents the fourth meeting in two years between Scotland and Israel. Both sides have registered one win apiece – both at home – with the other a 1-1 draw last month in the Nations League.

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Scotland have lost just one of their previous six matches against Israel – a 2-1 Nations League defeat in October 2018 – but their two previous play-off ties in European Qualifying have seen them eliminated. They were beaten 2-1 on aggregate by England in November 1999 and lost 6-1 on aggregate to the Netherlands in November 2003.

Playing in Path C, the winner of this tie will face either Serbia or Norway in the European Qualifying play-off final on November 12.

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 06: Stuart Armstrong during a Scotland training session at the Oriam, on September 06, 2020, in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
Stuart Armstrong has tested positive for coronavirus and will miss the October internationals

Team news – Scotland: It was announced on Wednesday Stuart Armstrong had tested positive for coronavirus and will therefore miss the upcoming internationals for Scotland. Kieran Tierney and Ryan Christie have also been identified as close contacts and will also have to self-isolate. Scott McKenna, Oliver Burke and Liam Palmer are also sidelined through injury, along with James Forrest.

Thursday 8th October 7:00pm

Kick off 7:45pm

Oli McBurnie and Ryan Fraser have been recalled for the latest round of matches after missing out in September, although the latter has been short of match fitness after a summer move to Newcastle….

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