Israel left scrambling in wake of Yossi’s bad news

Israeli Football Association announces that Chelsea midfielder Benayoun had been diagnosed with a torn Achilles’ tendon and may be sidelined for “several months.”

Benayoun 311 (photo credit: Associated Press)
Benayoun 311
(photo credit: Associated Press)
The Israel national team was still coming to terms with the news of Yossi Benayoun’s injury as it continued its preparations on Wednesday evening for the crucial Euro 2012 qualifier against Croatia at National Stadium in Ramat Gan on Saturday night.
The Israeli Football Association announced on Tuesday night that the Chelsea midfielder had been diagnosed with a torn Achilles’ tendon and may be sidelined for “several months.”
Benayoun had been included in the Israel squad for its two upcoming European Championship qualifiers despite sustaining an injury in Chelsea’s Carling Cup loss to Newcastle on September 22.
However, an MRI on Tuesday revealed that the injury was worse than had been thought, meaning the 30-year-old Israel captain will not only miss the qualifiers against Croatia on Saturday and Greece next Tuesday, but could also be out for up to six months.
“I didn’t expect this,” Benayoun said on Wednesday. “I came to Israel with the intention of playing in the qualifiers, but I was stunned when I was told the results of the test. Throughout my career I have never been injured for more than two or three weeks, but sadly this is part of the game and I need to accept it. I hope to come through this as quickly as possible and return to the field.”
Hapoel Tel Aviv midfielder Gili Vermut, who could take Benayoun’s place in the lineup, believes the blue-and-white can overcome Croatia, even without its best player.
“Benayoun’s absence is significant both on and off the field,” Vermut said. “We need to show more maturity to make up for this. I have no doubt that to reach the European Championships we need to beat big teams at home, starting on Saturday.”