Scotland slumped to a 2-1 defeat in Israel. Joel Sked looks at the Israeli press’ reaction.
Perhaps a damning indictment of Scotland’s defeat in Israel is the lack of coverage following the country’s first win in more than a year since they beat Liechtenstein 1-0.
Sports Rabbi, which claims to be the ‘ONLY source for Israeli sports in English’, published a report which was 139 words long.
They did find space to praise Israel’s mentality and the build-up to their equalising goal.
“Israel showed a lot of character to come back and take the victory when midfielder Peretz put the ball into the back of the goal after some nifty teamwork,” the report read.
Maariv Sport provided an in-depth look at the fixture with insightful analysis.
Their words only highlighted how poor a result it was for Scotland saying it is “one of the most difficult periods of the Israeli team ever” and that the “team had lost the trust of the crowd” with the Sammy Ofer stadium looking “more naked and sad than ever”.
One writer offers an explanation for the sparse crowd and it does not paint a good picture for Scotland.
“The combination of the unattractive opponent - except the Liverpool defender (Andy Robertson) - what do we actually know about Scotland? The late hour, the location of the ground, ticket prices (some of which are higher than the prices of tickets in the league), the team’s continuing lack of success (two victories over Andorra and Liechtenstein in the 11 games since the victory over Bosnia), the lack of creative players and the loss of trust between the audience and the team - all these resulted in a minimal amount in an official game, which has not been recorded for more than 20 years.”
Similar to the reaction to Scotland’s win over Albania in this country, Maariv Sport were effusive in their praise of their national team, just glad to see a winning side.
“The team looked very organised in the first half and improved as the minutes passed. The Israeli captain (Bibras Natkho) was very good at managing the game, giving accurate passes at a high rate.
“(Munas) Dabbur, whose movement without a ball and ability to get the ball between the lines and attack the defence is at a high European level.”
They praised the reaction of the team following the “dubious penalty that gave the Scots the advantage”.
It was noted that Scotland “completely lost the game” and played defensively after the “referee’s balanced decision” to red card John Souttar, with the winning goal a “justice”.
The team were praised for their “winning percentage in the aerial battles”.
Israel manager Andi Herzog, who had lost both of his games in charge until Scotland, was the focus of positivity.
“Since the game against Bosnia, we have not seen such a dominant and rhythmic performance from the national team. Herzog managed to hide great weaknesses in our defence. With the momentum of this important victory, the team will reach Turner (Stadium in Be’er Sheva) for a meeting with Albania on Sunday, when Herzog knows that another victory will bring him closer to the house and will restore the trust of the team.”
Meanwhile, back in the UK, the Jewish community was perhaps more scathing than the Israelis.
Jewish News said “Charlie Mulgrew’s penalty after 25 minutes gave the disjointed visitors something of an undeserved advantage” and “the sorry visiting side squandered a half-time lead”.
It was “no surprise” and “almost inevitable” that “the hosts levelled in the 52nd minute”.
‘Britain’s biggest Jewish newspaper’ did not sugarcoat the away side’s performance: “Scotland were all over the place”.
They finished by noting that the Tartan Army vented “their displeasure at the final whistle”.
• READ MORE: Israel 2-1 Scotland: How the Scotland players rated