|Photo by: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters|
Israel falls to Germany in wet friendly affair
By ALLON SINAI
Blue-and-white suffers third consecutive loss under Gutman, losing 2-0 in rain-soaked Leipzig.
Israel dropped to its third straight friendly defeat since coach Eli Gutman took
charge on Thursday, losing 2-0 to Germany in Leipzig.
The national team
barely broke out of its own half in the first 45 minutes and could have no
complaints at finding itself a goal down at the break after Mario Gomez gave the
Germans the lead in the 40th minute.
However, Israel showed some
improvement in the second half and goalkeeper Ariel Harush ensured it never had
to worry about falling to a repeat of the 7-1 humbling it suffered at the hands
of the Germans in a friendly 10 years ago.
Any hopes Israel had of
snatching a draw were ended by Andre Schurrle eight minutes from
Israel lost its first match under Gutman in February, falling 3-2
to Ukraine, and dropped to a 2-1 setback to the Czech Republic on Saturday
before Thursday’s defeat.
Next up for the blue-and-white is a friendly
against Hungary in August before it begins its 2014 World Cup qualifying
campaign at Azerbaijan on September 7.
Israel’s intentions were clear
from the start, with Gutman choosing to use holding-midfielder Avihai Yadin in
place of a second striker, meaning Itay Shechter was the lone
Israel rarely ventured forward in the first half, with the
Germans dominating possession.
However, while the blue-and-white failed
to register a single shot in the first half, at least it kept the hosts at bay,
until Gomez broke the deadlock in the 40th minute.
Germany’s best chance
until that stage came in the 19th minute when Jerome Boateng’s attempt smashed
against the upright, but Joachim Loew’s side still had the lead at the break
courtesy of Gomez’s unstoppable shot from the center of the box.
finally registered its first attempt six minutes into the second half when
Bibras Natcho released a relatively harmless shot at Manuel
However, the German ‘keeper had to be at his acrobatic best to
deny the visitors the equalizer four minutes later, with Gili Vermut, who came
on for Yossi Benayoun at halftime, testing Neuer with a powerful
A combination of excellent work by Harush and complacency in
front of goal by the hosts saw Israel hold on until the 82nd minute when
Schurrle gave the blue-and-white ‘keeper no chance with a thunderous shot from
20 meters out.
Nevertheless, Germany, which was hoping to make a
statement in its final warm-up game before Euro 2012 after a humbling 5-3 defeat
to Switzerland over the weekend, was far from impressive.
Germany will be
expecting a significant improvement when it takes on Portugal in its Group B
opener on June 9 before playing Netherlands and Denmark.