Israel are on the verge of qualifying for Tokyo 2020 ©WBSC

Israel took a giant step towards securing a place at Tokyo 2020, after stunning hosts Italy at the World Baseball Softball Confederation Africa/Europe qualification event.

The Israeli team, who have never qualified for an Olympic baseball competition, shocked their Italian opponents with an 8-2 win at Nino Cavalli in Parma.

Victory handed Israel a third-straight triumph at the tournament, where only the winner will seal a place at next year's Olympic Games in the Japanese capital.

Israel, who have also beaten recently crowned European champions the Netherlands, will be assured of an Olympic berth if they overcome Czech Republic and South Africa this weekend.

Italy began the day by defeating South Africa in a match suspended from Wednesday (September 18) due to rain.

The home side scored six runs in the top of the 10th inning to earn a 10-4 victory.

But their later loss to Israel leaves them requiring results to go their way in the final two rounds if they are to qualify for Tokyo 2020.

The Netherlands, third in the standings, ousted Spain 6-2, while the Czech Republic hammered South Africa 11-1 in the other matches played today.

The tournament continues tomorrow.