Fernandez: We need three wins

By Simon Griver, April 7, 2011

Manager Luis Fernandez believes Israel must win three of their last four qualifying games to reach next year's Euro 2012 finals in Poland.

Back-to-back victories over Latvia and Georgia last week put Israel back in contention to qualify from Group F.

But Fernandez believes that the hard work only starts now.

"Even to be in second place in the group, we need to win three of our four remaining games," Fernandez said.

Israel travels to Latvia in June before hosting Greece and travelling to Croatia at the start of September. Israel's final game is away to Malta in October.

Israel lies in third place in Group F, one point behind leaders Croatia and equal on points with Greece, though they have played one game more than both teams.

When asked if Israel can beat Greece in September, Fernandez said: "I'm only thinking about taking three points in Latvia, then I'll worry about Greece. In June we should have Yossi Benayoun for 90 minutes and Etay Shechter will also be back."

Although Greece have agreed to switch the game with Israel on September 2 to Saturday night so that the national team can avoid playing on Shabbat, Uefa regulations stipulate that all teams in the group must agree the change.

Croatia are currently objecting on the grounds that they will be at an unfair disadvantage if Israel and Greece get to play 24 hours after their match away to Malta.

The Israel FA will make further attempts to persuade Croatia that it is not necessary to play simultaneous matches four games before the end of the tournament.

Last updated: 2:41pm, April 7 2011