Dudu keeps the faith

Safe? Dudu Awat insists Israel will have to fight for their World Cup place

Safe? Dudu Awat insists Israel will have to fight for their World Cup place

Dudu Awat believes that Israel must treat their four remaining World Cup qualifiers like cup finals to stand a chance of qualifying for next year’s competition in South Africa.

The keeper, in Belfast this week for Israel’s lacklustre 1-1 draw against Northern Ireland, admitted that there is no room for error if the team is to keep their hopes alive — while still depending on other results going their way.

“We have four games left and if we win them all we have a chance”, said Awat, 31. “We can do it. As long as we have a chance, we’ll keep fighting.”

Lying fourth in Group Two behind Greece, Switzerland and Latvia, the Real Mallorca stopper believes there will still be some twists and turns between now and October.

“Three of our last four games are at home. We are not thinking about our last game against the Swiss yet. If we can win our home games then we can talk about the match against Switzerland on October 14. I’m sure it will be a crucial one for us.”

With 43 caps to his name, Awat will be keeping an eye on the forthcoming match between former European champions Greece and Switzerland where a result could put Israel back into contention.

Their last outing was a 2-1 defeat in Greece. “We could’ve done better,” he said. “I felt we were the better team and controlled the midfield but that’s football. There’s no point looking back as we can’t change the past.

“What Greece did winning the European Championships was unbelievable. They have a great national team but I believe we are on the way up. We’ll be a better team when more and more Israelis are playing in Europe. We’re all professional players and always want to do our best. Every player is proud to represent their country.”

Happy with life, Awat is the No. 1 at Mallorca since joining late last year. “I had some offers from Premier League clubs but chose to stay in Spain as my family is settled.

“My children have all learnt Spanish so I chose to stay.

“I feel La Liga is currently the best league in the world, and I’m proud to be a part of it. But I don’t believe that you can compare La Liga, Serie A and the Premier League as they have different characteristics. You don’t need to compare league, you just need to enjoy the football.

“I think what Real Madrid have done in bringing in so many great players is amazing. It improves the level of the league and makes it more attractive.”

    Last updated: 4:32pm, August 13 2009