Israel’s roster named for under-21 Euro championships

Guy Luzon's squad includes the likes of Taleb Tawatha and Eyal Golasa, while Santander's Gai Assulin left out.

Taleb Tawatha soccer 370 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger and Adi Avishai)
Taleb Tawatha soccer 370
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger and Adi Avishai)
Under-21 national team coach Guy Luzon revealed on Thursday his 23-man squad for next month’s European Championship to be held in Israel.
The most notable absentee is Gai Assulin, who plays for Racing Santander of the Spanish second division, with Ben Butbul, Ahmed Abed and the injured Sari Falach also all falling by the wayside in the final cut.
“This is a difficult day for me,” said Luzon. “Besides being talented players they also have amazing personalities and are part of our national team family.”
The squad includes players with senior international experience of the likes of Taleb Tawatha and Eyal Golasa, with Maccabi Haifa leading all teams with three representatives.
With Assulin missing out, Omri Altman, who is part of English Premier League club Fulham’s under-21 squad, is the only player on the roster who doesn’t ply his trade for an Israeli club.
“Every player dreams to be part of a tournament like this,” Luzon said. “If a player can’t cope with the pressure I suggest he should quit. This is going to be a difficult tournament for us because unfortunately Israel is not in the top-tier of European soccer. If we fail to succeed it will be because the other teams are stronger than us and not because we are weak.”
Israel will face Norway in the tournament opener in Netanya on June 5 before playing Italy at Bloomfield Stadium three days later and completing its Group A games versus England at Teddy Stadium on June 11.
Group B will be contested between defending champion Spain, Germany, Netherlands and Russia.
The top two teams from each group will advance to the semifinals to be played on June 15, with the final to take place at Teddy on June 18.