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LUIS FERNANDEZ 311.(Photo by: Courtesy)
Youngsters get time to shine as Iceland visits Bloomfield
“Before we arrive at the matches against Latvia and Georgia it is important we give our up-and-coming players a chance,” says Israel coach.
Israel coach Luis Fernandez said he will be giving his squad’s fringe players a chance to prove their worth when the national team hosts Iceland in a friendly encounter at Bloomfield Stadium on Wednesday night.

Fernandez is especially concerned with the side’s defensive play, and he will be testing a completely new back-four against Iceland in preparation for next March’s Euro 2012 qualifiers against Latvia and Georgia.

“Before we arrive at the matches against Latvia and Georgia it is important we give our up-and-coming players a chance,” the Frenchman said on Tuesday. “These youngsters will need to lead the team in the future.”

Dudu Aouate is set to play in goal once more, with Rami Gershon and Maccabi Tel Aviv midfielder Gal Alberman to start in the center of the defense.

Yuval Spungin will be given a chance on the left side of the defense, with Danny Bondarv to play on the right.

Bibras Natcho will play in the center of the field with Almog Cohen, while Lior Rafaelov and Maor Buzaglo are expected to attack from the flanks.

Elyaniv Barda and Maccabi Petah Tikva’s Omer Damari are set to play together upfront, but Fernandez is far more interested in seeing how his defensive players perform.

“We know every player in Israel wants to play as a midfielder or a striker, but I’m looking for a back-four and I’m giving different players an opportunity to play in defense,” Fernandez said.

“Everyone thinks Iceland is an easy opponent, but this is not true. They are well organized, disciplined and know how to defend well.

We will have to take the initiative and play quickly.”

Iceland is currently bottom of Euro 2012 qualifying Group H having lost all three of its matches to date.

“I have no problem playing as a defender,” Alberman said. “I’ve played in different positions throughout my career and I’ll do whatever the coach asks me. I hope we can entertain the fans who will come to see us play.”

On TV: Israel vs Iceland (live on Sport5 at 7:30 p.m.)
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