National team ranked lowest since 2006 as squad drops out of top 50.
By ALLON SINAI
For the first time in four years, Israel’s national team dropped out of the top-50 of the FIFA rankings on Wednesday.A pair of 2-1 defeats to Croatia and Greece within four days last week not only left Israel with just four points from four matches in Group F of Euro 2012 qualifying, but also saw it plummet some 20 places to its lowest ranking since August 2006.Meanwhile, Mordechai Spiegler, who led Israel to the 1970 World Cup and currently works as an advisor for the Israel Football Association, has said that he believes the work done by Israel coach Luis Fernandez will be appreciated with time.“The results are the most important thing and four points from four matches is not enough,” Spiegler told the IFA website.“But despite the results I believe in the Israeli player and I believe that in the near future everyone will be able to see the fruits of Fernandez’s work. I believe that by the end of the campaign we will see a better team.”World Cup-winner Spain remained top of the FIFA rankings published on Wednesday ahead of the Netherlands in second, Brazil in third and Germany in fourth. The United States dropped seven spots to No. 25.Elsewhere in Israeli soccer news, the Israel Football Association disciplinary court handed Ashdod SC a 3-0 technical loss in its match against Hapoel Beersheba, which came to a premature ending because of fan violence on Sunday.AdvertisementWith the score tied at 3-3 deep into stoppage time at the Yud-Alef Stadium in Ashdod, referee’s assistant Oren Bornstein was struck by an object thrown by the Ashdod fans and referee Ziv Adler called off the match shortly before he was set to blow the final whistle.Ashdod was also punished to play one match in front of empty stands and pay a NIS 10,000 fine.