Israel vs Chile – Preview
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)