Israel's World Cup hopes blown away

By James Masters, September 12, 2012

Israel’s hopes of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup were ripped to shreds as they slumped to a humiliating home defeat against Russia.

A dire first-half performance allowed Fabio Capello’s men to cruise to victory and leave Israel with just one point from their opening two group games.

Following last week’s 1-1 draw in Azerbaijan, manager Eli Guttman opted for a more adventurous 4-3-3 formation.

But despite the presence of Yossi Benayoun in the Israel midfield, the hosts were blown away by a rampant Russia.

The visitors moved into a two-goal lead within the first 20 minutes thanks to strikes from Alexander Kerzhakov and Aleksandr Kokorin.

Kerzhakov grabbed his second of the game just after the hour mark, before Viktor Fayzulin finished the rout 13 minutes from time.

"We played against an excellent opposition from which we can learn a lot about teamwork," said Israel boss Guttman.

"Our players tried, and they ran. They're undoubtedly a better team than us. We were prepared for this game and the one against Azerbaijan.

“To my sorrow, the criticism of the national team was justified. I'll have to think about the future. I'm full of energy to change this. There is much to fix."

Israel host Luxembourg in October before welcoming Portugal next March.

Last updated: 11:45am, September 12 2012