Israel vs Ukraine Preview
Tomorrow Israel will taken on a strong Ukraine side in a friendly at the new HaMoshava Stadium in Petah Tikva. This will be the first game of Eli Guttman’s tenure and will be a test for his new tactics and formation for the Israel National Team. Guttman has stated he will call up the same players for most of the campaign unlike his predecessor Luis Fernandez who called up over 50 players. Let’s take a look at the two teams who will be facing off tomorrow.
Strengths: Ukraine has a strong national team, but the biggest strengths are its attacking players. The trio of Artem Milevskiy, Andriy Yarmolenko, and Yevhen Konoplyanka will pose a huge problem for Israel’s back four and midfield. In addition the experienced anchor Anatoliy Tymoschuk will attempt to dictate play and break up Israel’s attack going forward. Ukraine recently scored 3 goals against Germany which is no mean feat.
Weaknesses: In its last two games the Ukrainian defense has conceded 4 goals and is missing Dmytro Chygrinskiy, a center back, and its best goalkeeper Olekasander Rybka for this game. The defending has been poor and must improve for the Ukrainians to be successful in Euro 2012.
Strengths: Israel’s biggest strengths are in the midfield with Yossi Benayoun, Maor Melikson, and Lior Refaelov. Israel will depend on these players for creativity and goals. In addition Israel has been able to keep good possession of the ball during games in the last campaign.
Weaknesses: Undoubtedly the defense, the fullbacks especially for Israel offer no speed or skill with the ball and will need help throughout the game defending. In addition Israel is at a significant height deficit with no players in the midfield over 6 feet tall. Israel has had trouble with set pieces in recent years. In addition an overall lack of team speed will hurt Israel as they are constantly beaten for pace on the international level.
Conclusions: Israel will be under pressure for under much of the game, but will have opportunities to counter attack. However I think Ukraine is too fast too technical and too strong for Israel and they will ultimately win the game. I predict a 2-1 win for the Ukraine, but Israel will have chances to win or tie the game.
Watch the game here: