soccer israel team celebrates 248.
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After not speaking to his players throughout Sunday's training session, Israel coach Dror Kashtan finally broke his silence on Monday and demanded his squad play for its pride in Switzerland on Wednesday.
The national team arrived in Basel on Monday ahead of its final 2010 World Cup qualifier against the locals on Wednesday.
Israel has still got a slender chance of finishing second in Group 2 and advancing to a qualifying playoff, but the odds are heavily stacked against Kashtan's men.
It will not only need to defeat Switzerland on the road, with the Swiss requiring a point to secure top position in the group, but also for Greece to fail to defeat Luxembourg in Athens.
Despite needing an improbable combination of results, Kashtan challenged his players to at least take care of their business and win the match.
"We are not going on holiday to Switzerland," Kashtan told his players. "The Swiss need the points and I don't want us to embarrass ourselves. Play for your pride."
Most of the players preferred not to speak to the media ahead of their departure for Basel, but Bolton Wanderers midfielder Tamir Cohen, who made his 14th international appearance in Israel's 3-1 victory over Moldova on Saturday, did his best to stress the importance of the upcoming qualifier.
"First and foremost we want to win in order to improve our seeding for the Euro 2012 qualification draw," Cohen said. "Besides playing for our pride we must also act as professional athletes and do all we can to win. I don't think the match is meaningless.
"We are crossing our fingers for Luxembourg. The Swiss need a point, but we are not thinking of them or of Greece.
"We should only be concerned with what we do, knowing that the best team will eventually be the one to reach the World Cup."