Eli Gutman 390 .
(photo credit: Adi Avisha)
Ironi Kiryat Shmona’s stunning season hasn’t gone unnoticed by Israel coach Eli
Gutman, with the new boss of the blue-and-white naming on Wednesday five players
from the Premier League leader in his squad for next week’s friendly match
against Ukraine in Petah Tikva.
Gutman, who was confirmed as Luis
Fernandez’s replacement in December, said he believes Israel has a real chance
to reach the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and unlike his predecessor, he has no
intention to constantly tinker with his squad.
That is excellent news for
Kiryat Shmona’s Danny Amos, Shir Tzedek, Elad Gabai, Eitan Tibi and Adrian
Rochet, who all received their first call up on Wednesday and know they will
have every chance to become a significant part of the Israel squad after helping
their team to a 12- point gap at the top of the league standings.
are there to be realized and we plan to realize our dream of seeing Israel play
in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil,” Gutman said.
“The only way we can
realize this dream is with the strength of the team. We have excellent
individuals, but now we need to create a cohesive unit.
“Every one of the
Kiryat Shmona players I called up deserves to be in the squad. I’m not looking
to spring any surprises with my squads. I have spent a long time thinking
through each selection.”
Despite only making 12 Premier League
appearances for Arsenal this season, just two of them as a starter, Gutman
confirmed that Yossi Benayoun will once more captain the team, with Dekel Keinan
also being called up despite seeing little action with Cardiff City of the
Another player making his return to the blueand-
white is Maor Melikson.
The 27-year-old Wisla Krakow midfielder announced
in September that he would like to play for Poland after not being given an
opportunity with Israel, only to decide 24 hours later that he doesn’t want to
represent either team.
“Melikson told me that he would be proud to
represent Israel,” Gutman said.
Israel also faces Germany in June and
Hungary in August in two more friendlies before it gets its 2014 World Cup
qualifiers underway with a road match against Azerbaijan on September
Israel, which is dreaming of reaching its first World Cup since 1970,
will face Portugal, Russia, Northern Ireland, Azerbaijan and Luxembourg in Group
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