The Israeli National Football Team will be playing the rest of their Euro 2024 qualifying home games at the Pancho Arena in Felcsút, Hungary. Israel got the last two of their games postponed due to the increased terror threat in the country brought on by the series of attacks by the Palestinian terror group Hamas last month.
Consequently, they will also not be able to play matches on their home turf for a while. Given the fact that an Islamist terrorist carried out an attack, killing two, during the Euro qualifying game between Belgium and Sweden in Brussels, Belgium also last month, hosting a football game in Israel would be too dangerous for Israeli citizens.
After discussions between the Hungarian (MLSZ) and Israeli Football Association (IFA), MLSZ announced on Tuesday, 31 October that the Euro 2024 qualifier between Israel and Switzerland will be held at the Pancho Arena in Felcsút on 15 November; while the qualifier between Israel and Romania will be held at the same venue on 18 November.
This is not the first time Hungary provides a temporary home turf for a foreign football team.
Back in 2022, the European football governing body UEFA ruled that Belarus cannot play any games at home due to their involvement in the Russian invasion of Ukraine (while they outright banned the Russian National Team from all competitions). As a result, the Belarusian National Team played their home qualifiers at the Ferenc Szusza Stadium in Budapest; while Belarusian clubs played their European club competition games in the Hungarian towns of Mezőkövesd and Gyirmót (part of Győr).
Coincidentally, Belarus is in the same qualifying group as Israel. Therefore, Romania will have to travel to Hungary to play a European Championship qualifier yet another time, which they most likely do not welcome. The last time they played here, on 12 October, they tied Belarus 0–0, and blamed their poor performance against the weak Belarusian side on the quality of the pitch and the hostility of Hungarian football fans against Romanians.
In their press release about temporarily hosting the Israel National Team, MLSZ stresses that the Israeli Football Association is the one organizing the games, thus they are in charge of ticket sales as well, in case any locals are interested in attending either of the games in person.
Israel still has a lot to play for in their Euro qualifier group.
They have won three games so far, along with tying two and losing one, thus collecting 11 points in total. With that, they are five points behind Romania on top of the group with two games in hand; and four points behind Switzerland with one game in hand. If Israel were to win both of their postponed games, they would overtake both Romania and Switzerland, jumping to the top of the group. However, since the top two finishers of each qualifying group automatically make it to Euro 2024 in Germany, they would not even have to get a perfect record to make a historic first appearance at a European Championship.
They will definitely have a busy schedule in pursuit of their goals in November. On top of their two games in Felcsút against Switzerland and Romania on the 15 and 18, respectively, they will also have to travel to Andorra to play another qualifier on the 21 November. Meanwhile, their last game in the group against Kosovo, originally scheduled for 12 October, will have to be played on a date yet to be determined, most likely sometime in January.