Belfast Telegraph

O'Neill insists Israel friendly presents Northern Ireland with a good challenge

Northern Ireland will fulfil a decree from Uefa to play a friendly in September by hosting Israel at Windsor Park.

The match will take place on Tuesday, September 11 - three days after Northern Ireland's opening Nations League fixture against Bosnia and Herzegovina in Belfast.

With Northern Ireland playing only one competitive game in September, Uefa ordered the Irish FA to arrange a second match on the free date.

Due to active Nations League matches and friendlies already arranged, the Irish FA were limited in their European options for September 11 and it was believed Michael O'Neill's men would be forced to play away.

But the IFA managed to come to an agreement with their Israeli counterparts to stage the match in Belfast.

Northern Ireland last played Israel in a World Cup qualifier during 2013, which ended 1-1 in Tel Aviv.

"When we are looking at options for friendly matches we want teams that will challenge us and help us improve as a squad, Israel offer both of those things," said O'Neill.

Belfast Telegraph

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