Dror Kashtan 224.88.
(photo credit: )
After insisting for nearly two years that Maccabi Haifa captain Yaniv Katan didn't deserve to be called up to the Israel squad, national team coach Dror Kashtan finally succumbed to media and public pressure on Thursday, naming the 28-year-old in his squad for the upcoming 2010 World Cup against Latvia and Luxembourg.
There were two more surprise inclusions in Thursday's squad.
Bnei Yehuda's Eliran Atar was called up for the first time after the Israel Football Association decided that he can play for the national team despite his criminal record.
Haifa's 17-year-old midfielder Eyal Golasa was also named in an Israel squad for the first time following his impressive showings for the team in recent weeks.
Israel, which is currently fourth in Group 2 with nine points from six games, trailing Greece, Switzerland and Latvia, hosts the Latvians on September 5 and faces Luxembourg at National Stadium in Ramat Gan four days later.
Goalkeepers: Dudu Aoute (RCD Mallorca), Nir Davidovich (Maccabi Haifa), Liran Strauber (Maccabi Tel Aviv).
Defenders: Dedi Ben Dayan (Hapoel Tel Aviv), Yuval Spungin (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Dekel Keinan (Maccabi Haifa), Tal Ben-Haim (Manchester City), Yoav Ziv (Lokeren), Avi Strul (Lokeren), Eyal Meshumar (Maccabi Haifa), Dean Mori (Bnei Yehuda).
Midfielders: Gal Alberman (Borussia Monchengladbach), Biram Kiyal (Maccabi Haifa), Yossi Benayoun (Liverpool), Aviram Bruchian (Betar Jerusalem), Salim Toama (Larissa), Avihai Yadin (Hapoel Tel Aviv), Eyal Golasa (Maccabi Haifa).
Forwards: Ben Sahar (Espanyol), Omer Golan (Lokeren), Barak Itzhaki (Betar Jerusalem), Elyaniv Barda (Genk), Yaniv Katan (Maccabi Haifa), Eliran Atar (Bnei Yehuda).