EURO 2020 play-offs

‘Time to believe’ as Scots drawn at home to Israel

Steve Clarke celebrates late winner against Cyprus

Momentum: Clarke (pic: SNS Group)

Steve Clarke insists belief is the key after Scotland were drawn at home to Israel in their EURO 2020 play-off semi-final.

Should they be victorious at Hampden Park on March 26, a winner-takes-all clash away to Norway or Serbia awaits five days later.

Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary were the other countries Scotland could have been paired with.

The Scots have not qualified for a major tournament since France ’98 but boss Clarke is feeling optimistic after overseeing consecutive victories over San Marino, Cyprus and Kazakhstan.

He said: “This is the time to believe. We have three wins in a row and the benefit of momentum. We want to be active participants at EURO 2020, not just hosts, and we will give our all in what I believe will be two games.”

Scotland booked their their play-off berth by winning Nations League Group C1, with Israel second. A 2-1 defeat in Israel last year was avenged by a 3-2 victory in Glasgow.

“The players know Israel well having faced them in the Nations League,” added Clarke. “It was a tough match over there but we showed our capabilities with a good win at Hampden last year.”

Scotland will be favourites to overcome the Israelis but will be underdogs to go all the way. Norway have not lost at home in over three years while Serbia, ranked No. 33 in the world – 20 places above Clarke’s side – played in the World Cup last year.

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