Israel falls to Germany in wet friendly affair

Blue-and-white suffers third consecutive loss under Gutman, losing 2-0 in rain-soaked Leipzig.

Germany and Israel soccer match 370 (photo credit: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)
Germany and Israel soccer match 370
(photo credit: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)
Israel dropped to its third straight friendly defeat since coach Eli Gutman took charge on Thursday, losing 2-0 to Germany in Leipzig.
The national team barely broke out of its own half in the first 45 minutes and could have no complaints at finding itself a goal down at the break after Mario Gomez gave the Germans the lead in the 40th minute.
However, Israel showed some improvement in the second half and goalkeeper Ariel Harush ensured it never had to worry about falling to a repeat of the 7-1 humbling it suffered at the hands of the Germans in a friendly 10 years ago.
Any hopes Israel had of snatching a draw were ended by Andre Schurrle eight minutes from time.
Israel lost its first match under Gutman in February, falling 3-2 to Ukraine, and dropped to a 2-1 setback to the Czech Republic on Saturday before Thursday’s defeat.
Next up for the blue-and-white is a friendly against Hungary in August before it begins its 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign at Azerbaijan on September 7.
Israel’s intentions were clear from the start, with Gutman choosing to use holding-midfielder Avihai Yadin in place of a second striker, meaning Itay Shechter was the lone forward.
Israel rarely ventured forward in the first half, with the Germans dominating possession.
However, while the blue-and-white failed to register a single shot in the first half, at least it kept the hosts at bay, until Gomez broke the deadlock in the 40th minute.
Germany’s best chance until that stage came in the 19th minute when Jerome Boateng’s attempt smashed against the upright, but Joachim Loew’s side still had the lead at the break courtesy of Gomez’s unstoppable shot from the center of the box.
Israel finally registered its first attempt six minutes into the second half when Bibras Natcho released a relatively harmless shot at Manuel Neuer.
However, the German ‘keeper had to be at his acrobatic best to deny the visitors the equalizer four minutes later, with Gili Vermut, who came on for Yossi Benayoun at halftime, testing Neuer with a powerful effort.
A combination of excellent work by Harush and complacency in front of goal by the hosts saw Israel hold on until the 82nd minute when Schurrle gave the blue-and-white ‘keeper no chance with a thunderous shot from 20 meters out.
Nevertheless, Germany, which was hoping to make a statement in its final warm-up game before Euro 2012 after a humbling 5-3 defeat to Switzerland over the weekend, was far from impressive.
Germany will be expecting a significant improvement when it takes on Portugal in its Group B opener on June 9 before playing Netherlands and Denmark.