Unfortunately during my second attempt to write on this blog, I have become busy once again. For those of you craving to discuss, learn, and follow Israeli football; I would urge you all to join this forum, http://www.xtratime.org/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=392 , the more people the merrier. I’ve been a member of this forum for several years and have learned alot about Israeli Football from my fellow members…Hopefully I’ll start the blog up again one of these days but the forum is the best way to go for immediate gratification. Thanks again y’all.
Yossi Benayoun is thirty years old, and out for six months, who will be the player he can pass on his torch on to? Itay Shechter has recently shown a good vein of form with the National Team and has shown he can be a consistent player for his club and country. In all likelyhood he will move on to a foreign team in the winter or summer, but the question is does he have the work ethic and maturity to succeed? These are all questions that will be answered just as Yossi Benayoun, Haim Revivo, Eli Ohana, Roni Rosenthal, and Eyal Berkovic answered. Shechter along with Bibras Natcho were probably Israel’s best players against Croatia and Greece. Shechter will have to work on his temper as he often picks up unnecessary yellow cards. However Shechter has become more of a team player, and is a very hard worker and could be Israel’s next great player. Stay tuned….
Another game and another loss for Luis Fernandez. One could argue that he put players out of position and out of their level, but it was a desperate attempt by Fernandez who recognized the fact that previous starters lacked quality to defend at the international level. Israel has some very good players in the midfield and forward positions, but the current crop of defenders apart from Tal Ben-Haim , lack the athleticism and tactical intelligence to be successful. Israel also lacks talented players that are, simply put, big. Simply put, Israel doesn’t have the size to take advantage of set piece situations. This is critical in close games and can make a difference between a win or loss. In order to compete at a high level in Europe size and speed are key in addition to technical ability. Until Israel has a more balanced squad, the team will continue to struggle regardless of the coach.
Israel is in all likelyhood taking its loss against Croatia, not very well. However some positives can be gained from the game, notably the amount of possession and pressure that Israel had versus the Croats. However this does not make up for the fact that Israel conceded more goals and scored less. The challenge will be even greater against the Greeks due to the fact that stalwart defender Tal Ben-Haim will be out due to an accumulation of yellows. Greece fields a formidable defence that will be hard to break down. Although Greece’s forwards are not world class, they may be able to exploit a very weak central pairing of Dekel Keinan and Tamir Cohen. Not exactly what Israel needs in a such a big game. Luis Fernandez will be opening in a slightly more offensive formation with Lior Rafaelov starting along with Dani Bondarv and Dedi Ben-Dayan. The player on the offensive side of the ball that Israel should fear the most is Sotiris Ninis. The Panathinaikos wonderkid has made a name for himself with some great performances over the last year, and will probably move to a bigger club in the future. Greece’s key absences will be winger Vassilis Torosidis and midfielder Alexandros Tziolis. Both played in Greece’s last game, with Torosidis scoring the winning goal. Israel needs to score the first goal, to have any chance of winning this game. Overall I think our chances our slim, and we would do best in a shoot-out, but thats unlikely to happen. 2-0 to the Greeks.
- Yossi Benayoun is injured and did not play for Chelsea.
- Tamir Cohen was not on the bench for Bolton.
- Dekel Keinan came on in the 21nd minute in Blackpool’s 2-1 victory over Liverpool.
- Tal Ben-Haim was not on the bench for West Ham in their 1-1 tie with Fulham.
- Dudu Aouate played the whole game in Mallorca’s 1-1 tie with Barcelona
- Almog Cohen came on in the 80th minute for Nurnberg in their 2-1 win over Schalke.
- Bibras Natcho played the whole game in Rubin Kazan’s 2-2 tie with Novosibirsk and had an assist.
- Ze’ev Haimovic played the whole game in a 1-0 win over Tomsk.
- Ohad Levita played the whole game in a 3-1 win for RKC Waalwijk over FC Zwolle.
- Shimon Abuhatzeira was not on the bench for Larissa’s 1-0 loss to Panserraikos.
- Elyaniv Barda scored a goal and played 73 minutes in Genk’s 2-2 draw with KV Mechelen.
- Eitan Tibi played the full 90 minutes in Charleroi’s draw with Zulte Waregem.
- Rami Gershon played the whole game in Kortrijk’s 3-1 win over Eupen.
- Shlomi Arbeitman was on the bench but did not play in Gent’s 3-2 loss to Club Brugge.
- Biram Kiyal is injured and did not play for Celtic in their 3-1 win over Hibernian
- Gil Blumenstein was on the bench but did not play in Caledonian’s 2-0 win over Aberdeen.