Israel avoids big guns in 2012 Euro draw

By Danny Caro, February 8, 2010
Israel's captain Yossi Benayoun

Israel's captain Yossi Benayoun

Captain Yossi Benayoun has called for caution after Israel were given an encouraging draw for the Euro 2012 Championships qualifying campaign.

Drawn in Group F, Israel will line up in a group containing Croatia, Greece, Latvia, Georgia and Malta.

Like Israel, Croatia failed to qualify for this summer’s World Cup finals in South Africa.

Benayoun said: “We know most of the teams from previous campaigns and we know it is going to be tough to qualify.

“We need to focus on our performance, on what we need to improve to have any chance of qualifying.

“It is less important to speak about the difficulty of our group, because we saw in the last campaign that it makes no difference.”

Israel FA chairman Avi Luzon, who continues his search for a new manager, was more upbeat. “This is a reasonable draw. However, the only thing that will determine if this is a good draw or not are the results during the campaign.

“We know three of the teams in the group very well and we’re hoping we can record improved results against them.”

Bolton midfielder Tamir Cohen commented: “This is the best draw we could have hoped for, but we are still facing some strong sides. We’ve got a very good chance. I hope we can compensate the fans for the World Cup campaign.”

Israel has not qualified for the finals of a major competition since the 1970 World Cup.

Last updated: 4:09pm, February 11 2010