GB set to face the boys from Brazil

Manager Jonathan Kestenbaum claims that this week’s Maccabiah Games open football draw was the toughest Team GB could get after they were placed alongside Brazil, Russia and Canada.

Originally, GB, the competition’s fifth seeds, had been placed alongside favourites Israel, Argentina and Sweden but the withdrawal of Holland resulted in the groups being redrawn.

Kestenbaum said: “In a strange kind of way, something about this group is harder. It will be ferociously contested. These are three of the hardest teams we could wish to meet. Canada and Russia are probably two of the strongest unseeded teams and there will be tremendous focus not to take any of our rivals lightly.”

The top two teams from the group will qualify for the quarter-final stage of the July competition. “All the teams will feel they can get out of the group,” said Kestenbaum. “There is no safe three points in any game.”

Revenge will be the name of the game for GB against fourth seeds Brazil, who knocked them out at the quarter-final stage in 2005.

“With a bit of luck, our opponents won’t be ready for us as we want to come out very quickly and try to impose ourselves on the group. But I think it is best not to make too many predictions at this stage.”

Paul Hakim (3), James Gershfield (2) and Matt Stock were on target as GB beat Spain’s Union Las Rozas 6-2 in a friendly near Madrid. The squad has three more friendlies arranged with Bishops Stortford, Wingate & Finchley and TNS.

    Last updated: 12:59pm, June 4 2009