Israel learned a lesson or two about football from its past two friendlies in South America after losing by a combined scoreline of 7-1 to World Cup bound Chile and Uruguay. Israel had a double headache of conceding many goals and scoring few. However, many important players are injured(including some in the squad), and I believe that Fernandez used the games as a trial to find the right players for the job. In a change from the previous game, Fernandez lined up three players in the midfield instead of two, in an attempt to stifle Chile’s offensive minded game. It didn’t really help in the end, but I thought the team played better. The game started off with a thick fog that only cleared up at the 30 minute mark. By then Chile had already scored with a neat move when Jorge Valdivia put Fausto Carmona through who passed to Humberto Suazo for an easy tap in. 1-0 Chile. Israel showed many positive moments during the first half, and Gili Vermouth had a very good first half for Israel. Israel’s best chance came when Itay Shechter went past his man in the box and squared to Elyaniv Barda who whiffed on his shot. Halftime ended with the same score. Ali Ottman came on for Avi Strool at the beginning of the second half. In the fiftieth minute, Israel gave the ball away in it’s own half and Alexis Sanchez took the ball and weaved his way through several defenders before blasting an unstoppable shot from the edge of the box. 2-0 Chile. Israel held out for much of the second half, with a makeshift central pairing of Shai Maimon and Avihai Yadin. However in stoppage time Rodrigo Tello hit a great volley 30 meters from goal to make it 3-0 Chile. Israel had several chances to score from set pieces but failed to do so. Overall, I would rate their performance better than the one they had against Uruguay.
Israel’s defenders still looked scared, and they were constantly getting beaten for pace and skill. The three man midfield was only marginally effective in stopping Chile. The trio of Nir Biton, Avihai Yadin, and Bibras Natcho couldn’t deal with the pace and passing of Chile’s midfield. We allowed three goals, that’s not acceptable, it doesn’t matter what level of football you are at. We didn’t score at all, and the only time we really threatened was from set pieces.We need a long term solution for our fullbacks. We got destroyed down the flanks, and none of the four fullbacks on the team really showed that they deserved a place in the starting eleven.
The attacking trio of Elyaniv Barda, Itay Shechter, and Gili Vermouth looked good and showed potential. Gili Vermouth had a really good game for the team, and showed what he is capable of. Israel allowed less goals than the last game, which is an improvement over four. Two of the goals given away were good individual efforts so, it could have been better. We were missing some of our best players. Luis Fernandez learned more about the quality of the players that we have. I expect a better showing in August against the Ivory Coast. Dudu Aouate had another good game for the team. We looked more organized, which I assume is Fernandez’s influence.
Overall I thought this game was an improvement and hopefully Fernandez will have us ready for our first qualifier against Malta. We will have several players to add to the mix. I believe that we can qualify out of our group for the Euro’s, but our team will have to play at the top of their game to do so.
Player Ratings On A Scale Of 0-10, 10 being the best.
Dudu Aouate made some really nice saves again, kept the score from being even worse. (8)
Gili Vermouth had a really good game, I thought he was really positive, but some of his final balls weren’t the best. (6)
Itay Shechter, did really well up front by himself, taking players on and almost created a goal. (5)
Elyaniv Barda, I thought he also had a good game, drew several fouls, had the best chance to score. (5)
Avi Strool only played one half, but I thought he had a decent game. (4)
Shlomi Arbeitman held the ball up nicely, drew some fouls, and closed down the defenders well. (4)
Avihai Yadin, subbed in as a center back, and prevented a goal. (4)
Bibras Natcho mades some nice passes, put in some good deliveries on set pieces, but was effectively neutralized by Chile’s superior midfield. (4)
Shai Maimon had a better game than the first time around, but still could do better.(3)
Lior Rafaelov was a lone man out there but wasn’t quite as effective as last game. (3)
Roberto Colautti stole the ball, but made a bad pass, whiffed on an opportunity to score. (3)
Nir Biton wasn’t good defensively but didn’t make any great passes either, was a non-factor. (1)
Omer Golan was pretty much invisible while he was out there. (1)
Klemi Saban got beaten by Beausejour every time. (1)
Eliran Danin was played out of position, and didn’t show much purchase going forward. (1)
Yoav Ziv didn’t really do much, was again a highway for a goal. (0)
Ali Ottman gave away the ball that led to Alexis Sanchez scoring a goal, not the way you want to start. (0)
- Hapoel Haifa has signed the leading scorer from Liga Leumit, Akaki Mikuchadze from Bat Yam. He scored twenty goals this season.
- Hapoel Tel-Aviv wants their former player Salim Toama. Toama currently plays his football for AEL Larissa in Greece.
- Pini Balili has been released from his club, Antalyaspor.
- Vladimir Dvalishvili of Maccabi Haifa is wanted by the Turkish club Trabzonspor which finished 7th in the Turkish league last year.
The game starts at 10 PM EST in Concepcion Chile.
- Tomer Hemed has been offered a long term contract by Maccabi Haifa after scoring nine goals while on loan with Ahi Nazeret
- Emmanuel Mayuka has been sold to Swiss champions BSC Young Boys Bern for 1.7 million dollars. Mayuka was a bright light for Maccabi Tel-Aviv all season with seven goals and five assists. Mayuka plays as a second striker or winger.
- Former U-21 and Hapoel Be’er Sheva coach Guy Levy has taken over as manager of Ironi Ramat Hasharon.
- Maccabi Tel-Aviv has given Beitar Jerusalem a one week deadline to sell Barak Itzhaki.
Chile will be hosting Israel in the earthquake devastated city of Concepcion. In the backdrop of the battered city, Israel will look to salvage some of its pride after being easily handled by Uruguay in a 4-1 loss. Meanwhile, Chile is coming off a 3-0 spanking of Zambia and will look to build on that success against Israel. Chile finished an impressive second in South American qualifying for the world cup, and will provide another good test for Israel to measure itself against. The last time these two teams met was two years ago in March of 2008, Israel won that game 1-0 thanks to a goal from Yossi Benayoun. This is Israel’s last friendly till August, so Luis Fernandez will be looking at his players closely.
Chile has a wealth of attacking talent that will surely cause Israel all kinds of trouble. Fortunately Chile can’t play all of these players at the same time, but nonetheless Israel will need to tighten its defensive play up, if they expect a better result this time around. Mark Gonzalez, Humberto Suazo, Fabian Orellana, Alexis Sanchez and Matias Fernandez are some of the names that stand out. Chile isn’t known for being a physically imposing team, but they make up for it with good technical ability in all facets of their game. Mauricio Isla of Udinese and Gary Medel of Boca Juniors both provide Chile with real quality at the back. Goalkeeper Claudio Bravo is a consistent player and plays for Real Sociedead. Chile has a mature squad with a median age of 26, and two players 30 and over. Chile has gone to seven World Cups and placed third in 1962. Israel needs more challenges to help the team get its young players experience, and Chile certainly provides that.
Keepers: Claudio Bravo (Real Sociedad), Miguel Pinto (Universidad de Chile), Luis Marin (Union Espanola)
Defenders: Roberto Cereceda (Colo Colo), Pablo Contreras (PAOK), Ismael Fuentes (Universidad Catolica), Mauricio Isla (Udinese), Gary Medel (Boca Juniors), Gonzalo Jara (West Brom)
Midfielders: Waldo Ponce (Universidad Catolica), Arturo Vidal (Bayer Leverkusen), Carlos Carmona (Reggina), Marco Estrada (Universidad de Chile), Matias Fernandez (Sporting Lisbon), Gonzalo Fierro (Flamengo), Rodrigo Millar (Colo Colo), Rodrigo Tello (Besiktas), Jorge Valdivia (Al-Ain), Jean Beausejour (America)
Forwards: Mark Gonzalez (CSKA Moscow), Fabian Orellana (Xerez), Esteban Paredes (Colo Colo), Alexis Sanchez (Udinese), Humberto Suazo (Real Zaragoza)
Israel can certainly find room for improvement, and that’s what Luis Fernandez will be expecting after a shabby display in Montevideo. After the loss on Wednesday Fernandez sent Ben Sahar and Ariel Harush home to practice with the U-21’s for their upcoming qualifier. Fernandez will likely try a different pairing up front, with Elyaniv Barda, Itay Shechter, Shlomi Arbeitman, and Omer Golan all possiblities. The midfield may or may not be changed. Ali Ottman is likely to start at right back after he didn’t start in the last game. It’s also possible that Dekel Keinan may not play after he got the flu. If Dekel Keinan does get better it will probably be him and Avi Strul that will be paired up centrally. Ohad Levita may also get his first start for the National Team as well. I expect that Fernandez will want a better result and that the team will want to redeem itself after they didn’t show up in the last game.
Keepers: Dudu Aouate (Mallorca), Ohad Levita (Waalwijk)
Defenders: Avi Strul (Lokeren), Yoav Ziv (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Ali Ottman (Maccabi Haifa), Shai Maimon (Maccabi Haifa), Dekel Keinan (Maccabi Haifa), Klemi Saban (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Eliran Danin (Maccabi Petah Tikva)
Midfielders: Lior Rafaelov (Maccabi Haifa), Gil Vermouth (Hapoel Tel-Aviv), Bibras Natcho (Rubin Kazan), Avihai Yadin (Hapoel Tel-Aviv), Maor Melikson (Hapoel Be’er Sheva), Nir Biton (MS Ashdod)
Forwards: Elyaniv Barda (Racing Genk), Roberto Colautti (Maccabi Tel-Aviv), Itay Shechter ( Hapoel Tel-Aviv), Shlomi Arbeitman (Maccabi Haifa), Omer Golan ( Lokeren)
Israel’s National U-21 team played Belarus’s U-21 team to a 2-2 tie in Belarus yesterday. The game was preparation for the qualifying match against Sweden in June. Israel was missing three key players, Bibras Natcho, Ben Sahar, and Ariel Harush. Sahar and Harush have already returned to Israel and Natcho will join them after Israel’s senior team plays Chile in a friendly on May 30th. Israel opened the scoring with Liroi Tzairi in the 35th minute. Belarus then got a goal back in stoppage time in the first half and then another a few minutes into the second half. Tal Ben-Haim got the equalizer for Israel in the 85th minute after receiving a cross from Orel Dagani. Israel is currently third in its qualifying group for the U-21 Finals and must win its three remaining games against Sweden and Montenegro to qualify for the elite round.
The Lineup was as follows: Robi Levkovic, Gal Shish (Avi Rikan 74′), Oded Elkayim (Dor Malul 74′), Rami Gershon, Oshri Roash (Din Mori 69′), Maor Buzaglo (Alroi Cohen 57′), Almog Cohen (Ran Abukarat 57′), Gai Assulin (Nes Zamir 69′), Liroi Tzairi ( Orel Dagani 74′), Eyal Golasa (Dudu Biton 57′), Omer Damari (Tal Ben-Haim 69′).
I’d also like to thank the readers of this blog. We’ve managed to get over a thousand views this month. This is the first time that this has happened. Thanks again guys.
I’m assuming that Luis Fernandez did not want his tenure to start out with an embarrassing loss in a friendly. However it is only a friendly and hopefully Fernandez learned something about the players on the field that night. This was Uruguay’s final game before the World Cup and they opened with their full strength squad against Israel’s somewhat depleted squad. No excuses can be made for the poor showing of Israel though, as they collapsed in the wave of beautiful football that Uruguay produced. The game started off with Uruguay creating a number of chances before Diego Forlan was sent through the middle of Israel’s non-existent defence by Ignacio Gonzalez, Forlan then produced a fine finish for a 1-0 Uruguay lead. However Israel fought back and their efforts produced their only goal of the night when Klemi Saban crossed into the box for Lior Rafaelov and he produced a good first touch and applied an excellent finish to the ball, 1-1. However Uruguay stormed back when Luis Suarez was sent through by Ignacio Gonzalez on the left wing, Suarez’s shot was saved by Dudu Aouate, but the rebound was tapped in by Alvaro Pereira, 2-1 Uruguay. The game was exciting in the first half but no more chances fell to either side. At the beginning of the second half Uruguay made a couple of substitutions but, Fernandez stayed with his starting eleven till the 55th minute when Avihai Yadin was subbed off in favor of new boy Nir Biton. Each team made more substitutions and then in the 75th minute Sebastien Abreu scored a tap in after Yoav Ziv failed to clear a cross from Nicolas Lodeiro. Then in the 81st minute Edinson Cavani was sent through clear and crossed for Abreu who again scored to make it 4-1 in the span of six minutes. Substitute Elyaniv Barda possibly drew a penalty as the game closed, but the ref blew his whistle and the game was over. I really enjoyed the way Uruguay played, hats off to them, I think they’re going to surprise a lot of people at the World Cup.
Shai Maimon showed Luis Fernandez why he won’t get called up again for a while. Maimon was at fault on two of the goals and will make it easy for Fernandez to start Avi Strool along Dekel Keinan in Israel’s next friendly against Chile. Yoav Ziv was responsible for at least one of the goals and was constantly getting the business down his side of the pitch. His partner in crime Klemi Saban wasn’t much better as he got worked over by Alvaro Pereira. Israel’s midfield combination of Bibras Natcho and Avihai Yadin was overwhelmed by the trio of Walter Gargano, Diego Perez, and Ignacio Gonzalez. Roberto Colautti and Ben Sahar were basically invisible the whole time they were out on the field and were effectively dead weight while they were on the pitch.
Lior Rafaelov had a really nice game, scored a great goal and gave Uruguay’s defenders something to think about while he was on the pitch. Nir Biton made a nice debut with the team, I thought he played well for an 18 year old on his first cap. Israel needs a tall and strong player in the midfield. Shai Maimon probably won’t be on the field for the National Team for a while which is a good thing. Fernandez also learned that Roberto Colautti and Ben Sahar are very rusty after having received very little playing time with their clubs. After the poor showing of Klemi Saban and Yoav Ziv, Luis Fernandez will go looking for better players at their respective positions. Dudu Aouate made several nice saves in the first and second half and showed why he is the first team keeper. Israel was missing at least four key players in Tal Ben-Haim, Biram Kiyal, Yossi Benayoun and Dedi Ben-Dayan.
This game can only be a positive if Luis Fernandez learned something about the National Team and where it needs to improve. Hopefully he can do that, and perhaps the team will show improvement against Chile.
Player Ratings On A Scale of 0-10, 10 being the best.
Lior Rafaelov: Scored a great goal looked very positive the whole game. (7)
Dudu Aouate: Made several nice saves, showed why he is one of the best keepers in La Liga. (7)
Dekel Keinan: Made several nice interceptions, Israel didn’t give any goals off of set pieces. (5)
Nir Biton: Rewarded Fernandez’s confidence in him by making several nice tackles and being composed on the ball. (4)
Elyaniv Barda: Only played for 17 minutes, but showed Fernandez why he should have started. (4)
Shlomi Arbeitman: Held the ball up nicely, and showed good pace, had a poor first touch in the box. (3)
Bibras Natcho: Worked in some nice passing, but also gave the ball away several times. (3)
Ali Ottman: Did his job, made a nice clearance. (3)
Gili Vermouth: Started the game off sloppily, progressed as the game went on. (3)
Avihai Yadin: Was ineffective as a defensive midfielder, but can’t be blamed totally. (3)
Maor Melikson: Made a nice one two, tried to get forward, but wasn’t able to. (3)
Itay Shechter: Didn’t do much while he was on the field, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. (3)
Klemi Saban: Got forward, and provided the pass for Rafaelov’s goal, got shelled defensively. (2)
Roberto Colautti: Was involved in the buildup to the goal, other than that, was invisible. (2)
Ben Sahar: Couldn’t get past Uruguay’s defenders, was a non-factor the whole game. (1)
Yoav Ziv: Probably one of his worst games ever for the National Team. (0)
Shai Maimon: He showed Fernandez why Jorge Teixeira started ahead of him at club level. (0)