Gutman trends with success in picking squad for friendly

Confirmed as Luis Fernandez’s replacement in December,Gutman says he believes Israel has a real chance to reach the 2014 World Cup in Brazil,

February 23, 2012 06:14
2 minute read.
Eli Gutman

Eli Gutman 390 . (photo credit: Adi Avisha)


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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.

“Dreams 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 English Championship.

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 7.

Israel, which is dreaming of reaching its first World Cup since 1970, will face Portugal, Russia, Northern Ireland, Azerbaijan and Luxembourg in Group F.

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