Scotland welcome Israel to Hampden Park in a huge Group F clash in the race for the Group F runner-up position.
Victory would move Scotland four points clear of third-placed Israel with three matches left, whereas Israel can leapfrog Steve Clarke’s Tartan Army into second with a win.
Grant Hanley is suspended for Scotland after picking up two yellow-card bookings, of which his second booking came last time out in a narrow win in Austria.
Scott McTominay is set to return to the starting line-up after injury kept him out of last month’s fixtures, as Stuart Armstrong looks set to be named amongst substitutes after a calf injury limited his action in recent weeks.
Israel will be without Hatem Elhamed after he received his second booking in this group in their defeat away to Denmark last time out.
- Scotland are unbeaten in three World Cup Qualifiers against Israel (W2, D1).
- Israel have lost their only previous away World Cup qualifier against Scotland – losing 3-1 at Hampden Park in 1982 World Cup Qualifying.
- Scotland are looking to keep a third consecutive clean sheet for the first time since October 2020, when they drew 0-0 against Israel in Euro 2020 Qualifying Play-Off Semi-Final before beating Slovakia and Czech Republic.
- Israel have won two of their three away World Cup qualifiers this campaign (W2, L1), in which they netted four goals in both wins which came against Moldova and Faroe Islands.
- Eran Zahavi has netted four goals in two of Israel’s three away qualifiers in Group F.
With just a single point separating both teams coming into this match, Scotland certainly know that their fate is in their own hands with three matches left after this clash.
Steve Clarke’s Tartan Army also come into this match off the back of two hard-fought 1-0 victories over Moldova and Austria, in which they were made to dig deep with clinical goals despite wasting chances although they did improve hugely in defence against Austria in terms of organisation.
Israel meanwhile were mauling 5-0 in Denmark in their last outing so will come to Glasgow looking to bounce back, although there is an incredibly close history between these two teams in recent years – especially in Scotland so this won’t be an easy match by any stretch.
The opening goal therefore feels decisive here because if Scotland score first, I expect them to try and eke out a narrow win if not draw, whereas Israel must go for it even if they score first in case the final standings boil down to goal difference next month.
I however do feel like Scotland have turned a corner and should have enough confidence in them to edge this, even though Eran Zahavi will be incredibly difficult to silence unless the defence is at its absolute best throughout.
Prediction: Scotland 2-1 Israel
Result: Scotland 3-2 Israel