Benayoun a little bent out of shape over fan criticism

“As long as I’m called up to the national team I will come and give my all,” says Yossi Benayoun.

By
September 4, 2011 23:49
1 minute read.
Israel vs Ivory Coast

Israel soccer 311. (photo credit: Denis Balibouse/Reuters)

 
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Yossi Benayoun lashed out at his critics on Sunday as the national team continued its preparations for Tuesday’s Euro 2012 qualifier against Croatia in Zagreb.

A 1-0 defeat to Greece at Bloomfield Stadium on Friday afternoon essentially ended Israel’s hopes of reaching next summer’s European Championships, with the blue-andwhite needing a road victory against the strongest team in Group F in Croatia to maintain even an outside chance of a top-two finish.

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Benayoun underperformed like the rest of the blue-and-white squad on Friday, but despite acknowledging the side’s failure, he was unhappy with the criticism directed at him and his teammates.

“As long as I’m called up to the national team I will come and give my all,” Benayoun tweeted on Sunday, ending any speculation that he may retire from international soccer after the current campaign ends.

“We mainly disappointed ourselves. Berkovic, Zohar, we all failed. So did I,” added the new Arsenal midfielder, clearly upset with the criticism leveled at the national team by former Israel internationals and current media analysts Eyal Berkovic and Itzik Zohar.

“The mean criticism, the dirt, the information leaked by players and the fact that there is no footballing culture – have become the essence in Israel.

“I refuse to be part of that because I love the game of soccer and the national team.

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