After six intensive days of training, Israel coach Eli Gutman will be hoping to
see the fruits of his labor when his squad faces the Czech Republic in an
international friendly in Graz, Austria, on Saturday night.
desperately disjointed in its 3-2 home defeat to Ukraine in Gutman’s first
friendly at the helm in February and the coach will be expecting a significant
improvement against the Czechs.
While the Czechs are preparing for their
participation in Euro 2012, Israel’s next meaningful match isn’t until September
7 when it opens its 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign at
However, with the national team having so little time to
train together during the season, Gutman is determined to make the most of this
two-week camp in Austria which will conclude with a match against Germany next
“Clearly, we will be facing two of the stronger teams on the
continent and these matches will give us an idea of where we stand,” said
“As soon as you set the bar high it causes the players to lift
their level and that is why we chose to play these matches.
One of the
goals of this training camp is to instill a tactical game plan and as soon as we
do that every player will know exactly what is expected from
Injured goalkeeper Dudu Aouate and striker Elyaniv Barda were both
left out of the 25-man squad, with Israel’s newest recruit, Excelsior Rotterdam
defender Samuel Scheimann, likely to be handed his debut on Saturday, perhaps
even as a starter.
Israel’s lack of depth in the defensive positions led
Gutman to call up the 24-year-old Scheimann, who has lived in the Netherlands
with his family since the age of five.