Soccer: Israel prepares for Under-21 European Championship

Israel's national under-21 team coach Guy Levy named on Wednesday his 23-man squad for the European U21 Championship that kicks off June 10 with the match between Israel and host nation Holland. Israel, which defeated France 2-1 on aggregate in a two-match playoff to qualify for the tournament, will face Belgium on June 13 in its second group match and plays Portugal three days later in its final game of the group stage. The top two sides in the group will book a spot in the semifinal of the tournament and also secure a ticket to the 2008 Olympics. There were no surprises in Levy's final squad, with Gili Vermot of Hapoel Tel Aviv and Itai Shechter of Maccabi Netanya the biggest names missing out. Six of the squad members are also part of Dror Kashtan's senior side and will only join the U21 team after the Euro 2008 qualifier against Macedonia on Saturday. Israel squad: goalkeepers - Tom Almadon (Maccabi Haifa), Yossi Shekel (Maccabi Herzliya), Ohad Levita (Hapoel Kfar Saba); defenders - Dekel Keinan (Maccabi Haifa), Shai Maimon (Maccabi Herzliya), Nitzan Damari, Naor Peser (Maccabi Petach Tikva), Eliran Danin (Hapoel Kfar-Saba), Yuval Shpungin (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Rami Doani, Dani Bonder (Hapoel Tel Aviv); midfielders - Idan Srur (Hapoel Petach Tikva), Lior Jan, Shiran Yeini (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Aviram Bruchian (Betar Jerusalem), Lior Rafaelov (Maccabi Haifa), Amir Taga (Maccabi Netanya); forwards - Amit Ben-Shushan, Toto Tamuz, Barak Itzhaki (Betar Jerusalem), Omer Peretz (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Ben Sahar (Chelsea FC), Shlomi Arbeitman (Maccabi Haifa)