Ronnie Rosenthal: Israel will never qualify for Europe
Says unless large scale changes are put in place by the Israel Football Association, national team has no chance.
By JEREMY LAST, JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
September 11, 2007 04:39
2 minute read.
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Former Israel international Ronnie Rosenthal believes Israel has no chance of ever qualifying for a major international tournament, unless large scale changes are put in place by the Israel Football Association.
The national team put up little fight in its 3-0 defeat by England at London's Wembley Stadium on Saturday, leaving Israel with little chance of making it to Euro 2008 next summer.
"There's no way at the moment we can qualify for the European Championship," former Liverpool and Tottenham striker Rosenthal told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
"Tactically we are good enough to get draws against the top sides, but we don't have the firepower to win the games we need to," he said.
Rosenthal claimed it is up to the IFA to improve the facilities for youngsters.
"We don't produce enough good players, it's as simple as that," he said. "It is not to do with the England game. You would expect the Israeli FA to take some steps to change the foundations. The academies are essential."
Israel had been full of hope in the days leading up to Saturday's game but never came back once Shaun Wright-Phillips scored England's first goal.
Rosenthal played in England from 1990 to 1999, helping Liverpool win the league title in 1990. He still lives in London where he works as a soccer agent. He scored 11 goals in 60 appearances for Israel, although he never made it to the World Cup or European Championship.
The 43-year-old Rosenthal said the fact that only three of the Israeli starting 11 play abroad proved it was always going to be an uphill struggle and it would have been a "fluke" if Israel had won at Wembley.
"It just sums up the difference between the English and Israeli players that even if they have 11 injured players they still won easily," Rosenthal commented.
Although he refused to blame Israel coach Dror Kashtan, Rosenthal said the choice of strikers was wrong, especially Barak Itzhaki whom he described as "a nice player" but said the England match was "not his place at all."
"He needs to play with his face to the defenders," rather than holding the ball up, Rosenthal commented.
He added that it was disappointing to see how Israel never tried to come back from the first goal.
"For me what was annoying was to see that they were playing like they didn't want to concede goals. It was a combination of the players' personalities and the decisions of the coach. I would have liked the coach to have made more changes earlier in the second half.
"Once they conceded there was never any reaction," he said. "I expected the full backs to push up. [Left back Yoav] Ziv was OK but [right back Yuval] Shpungin never had a bit of chuptza to push up."