Israel vs Uruguay – Preview
Israel and Uruguay are located several thousand miles away from one another and both are relatively small countries however the similarities end there when it comes to football. While Israel has experienced very little success at reaching big tournaments, just reaching the World Cup once in 1970. Uruguay has reached 10 world cups and won it twice. However, Israel’s squad has slowly improved over the years and some may argue that with the right coach Israel could have reached some recent tournaments. Both squads have talented players, but Uruguay has the slight edge when it comes to its players at bigger clubs. It’s unlikely that either side will field their strongest squads as Uruguay will be looking to test some of its fringe players for the world cup. Israel’s new coach Luis Fernandez will also be looking to use some of the uncapped players he brought on the trip. Uruguay currently hold’s the series edge over Israel having played five times, with Uruguay winning three times, Israel winning once and one tie. Let’s take a look at the teams.
Manager Oscar Tabarez has called up a 26 man squad, which will be trimmed after Uruguay’s friendly with Israel. Uruguay is a very solid team with no obvious weaknesses apart from a lack depth. However, Uruguay beat the Swiss 3-1 in a friendly in March, which can give you an indication of the strength of their team. Forwards Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez will lead the attack while Edinson Cavani is also an option. All three are outstanding strikers and should cause Israel’s defenders plenty of headaches. In the midfield young starlet Nicolas Lodeiro is a threat while Sebastien Eguren looks to anchor Uruguay in the midfield. Luckily for Israel Cristian Gonzalez was not called up because he would miss two world cup games. Alvaro and Maxi Pereira may figure into the mix as well, both players are wingers and should give Israel plenty to think about. Uruguay’s back four is very solid with Diego Lugano, Diego Godin both at center-back and the full backs Jorge Fucile and Andres Scotti are very good as well. Fernando Muslera is the number one keeper for Uruguay and he plays for the Italian club Lazio. If Uruguay chooses to play its full squad then it may be game over for Israel, but usually Israel puts up a good fight so, any result is possible. After all it is a friendly.
Keepers: ( Fernando Muslera (Lazio), Juan-Guillermo Castillo (Cali), Martin Silva (Defensor Sporting)
Defenders: (Diego Lugano (Fenerbahce), Diego Godin (Villareal), Andres Scotti (Colo Colo), Jorge Fucile (Porto), Martin Caceres (Juventus), Mauricio Victorino (Universidad de Chile), Maximiliano Pereira (Benfica)
Midfielders (Walter Gargano (Napoli), Egidio Arevalo-Rios (Penarol), Sebastian Eguren (AIK Stockholm), Diego Perez (Monaco), Alvaro Pereira (Porto), Alvaro Fernandez (Universidad de Chile), Jorge Rodriguez (River Plate), Alvaro Gonzalez (Nacional), Ignacio Gonzalez (Valencia), Nicolas Lodeiro (Ajax)
Forwards: (Sebastian Fernandez (Banfield), Luis Suarez (Ajax), Diego Forlan (Atletico Madrid), Sebastian Abreu (Botafogo), Edinson Cavani (Palermo), Jorge Martinez (Catania)
I’m not really sure what to expect from Israel. New manager Luis Fernandez will likely want to see what the quality of the players are that he called up. Fernandez has a similar squad to pick from as Dror Kashtan, but he may lineup in a more offensive formation, since this the kind of football he is known for implementing. Israel’s captain Yossi Benayoun has chose not to come for the trip which will make the lineup a little more intriguing. Fernandez could line Israel up with three strikers in a 4-3-3 formation or he may use the 4-4-2 that Kashtan preferred. Israel has three in form forwards right now on the trip Elyaniv Barda, Shlomi Arbeitman and Itay Shechter. There is a distinct possibility all three could start. In the midfield Bibras Natcho and Avihai Yadin could be reunited will Gil Vermouth is a likely starter as well. In defense Tal Ben-Haim is a likely starter while the other center back position will go between Avi Strul and Dekel Keinan. New boy Ali Ottman may get his first opportunity to start at right back after he impressed Fernandez with some showings he had for Maccabi Haifa. There is also a battle for the number two keeper slot, between Ohad Levita and Ariel Harush. Both have played for Israel’s U-21 team and it will be interesting to see who Fernandez picks. I’m really excited to see what Fernandez will do with our team against Uruguay and I hope they get a positive result.
Keepers: (Dudu Aouate (Mallorca), Ariel Harush (Beitar Jerusalem), Ohad Levita (Waalwijk)
Defenders: (Eliran Danin (Beitar Jerusalem), Tal Ben-Haim (Portsmouth), Dekel Keinan (Maccabi Haifa), Shai Maimon (Maccabi Haifa), Avi Strul (Lokeren), Yoav Ziv (Maccabi Tel-Aviv), Klemi Saban (Maccabi Tel-Aviv), Ali Ottman (Maccabi Haifa)
Midfielders: ( Lior Rafaelov (Maccabi Haifa), Bibras Natcho (Rubin Kazan), Gili Vermouth (Hapoel Tel-Aviv), Avihai Yadin (Hapoel Tel-Aviv), Maor Melikson (Hapoel Be’er Sheva) Nir Biton (M.S. Ashdod)
Forwards: (Roberto Colautti (Maccabi Tel-Aviv), Shlomi Arbeitman (Maccabi Haifa), Ben Sahar (Espanyol), Itay Shechter (Hapoel Tel-Aviv), Elyaniv Barda (Genk), Omer Golan (Lokeren)