All change as Israel go to Crete

By Simon Griver, January 22, 2009
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Israel will play their next away 2010 World Cup qualifier on neutral soil.

With a double-header against current holders Greece coming up, Israel play host on March 28. However, the away match on April 1 will be played in Crete.

The Israel FA had already booked accommodation in Athens and were “completely surprised” by the Greek’s choice of venue.

The Greek FA said they had chosen the location because of slow ticket sales for the game. However, Olympiakos’ 34,000-seat stadium was almost full for Greece’s 2-1 home defeat to Switzerland in October and a more likely reason for the switch to OFI Crete’s 26,000 seat stadium is that with major political rioting in Athens in recent weeks and fear of anti-Israel protests, the island venue will be easier to
secure.

Greece tops Group Two, a point ahead of Israel, with nine points from four games. Israel is second on eight points.
Israel’s friendly international against Hungary is set to go ahead on February 11 at Ramat Gan. The Hungarian FA has sought security clarifications due to the Gaza conflict but were convinced by Israel FA assurances that the stadium is out of missile range.

    Last updated: 12:11pm, January 22 2009