Israel clash with Austria called off

Israel's upcoming World Cup qualifier with Austria called off after the crash of a Russian plane which had set off from Tel Aviv.

updated: February 25, 2007 08:37 IST
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Israel's forthcoming World Cup qualifier with Austria has been called off after the crash of a Russian plane which had set off from Tel Aviv. FIFA president Sepp Blatter has postponed the Israel-Austria match with the backing of his emergency committee after the airliner with 78 people on board plunged into the Black Sea after a mid-air blast. The Austrian Football Association had earlier asked FIFA to investigate the security situation because of the crash, also expressing their inability to play. Football Association of Austria's president, Beppo Mauhar, said, "I very clearly told Blatter that due to this most recent development one can barely expect our team to go to Tel Aviv." The Austrian squad heard of the crash while training and feel FIFA has done the right thing by postponing the match. Austrian team captain Andreas Herzog, said, "Yesterday and today during training, one could see that we were really getting it together quickly. And then this afternoon, I noticed that some players were pretty worried, and I also was becoming unsettled for the first time. And so I think that FIFA's decision was the right one." The European under-21 qualifier between the two countries to be played on Sunday in a different stadium in Tel Aviv, has also been called off by European soccer's governing body UEFA. Last month Austria asked FIFA to move the World Cup qualifier in European group seven from Tel Aviv to a neutral venue, but FIFA on Monday ruled the match should go ahead as planned. Spain have already qualified from the group with 14 points and the fight is between Austria with 14 points and Israel with 11 points but have a better goal advantage and Sunday's match would have decided which country finished second in the group and qualified for a playoff against Turkey for a place in next year's finals in South Korea and Japan.