Levy drafts in three uncapped players for Israel's World Cup opener


Elisha Levy has named three uncapped players in his squad for Israel’s 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign against Italy.

Veterans Yossi Benayoun and Tal Ben Haim have been overlooked in favour of midfielders Omer Atzili, Firas Mugrabi, Dan Einbinder.

Atzili, who has signed for La Liga outfit Granada from Beitar Jerusalem, looks set to make the starting line-up.

Appointed in April, Levy was in bullish mood ahead of his first competitive game. Many have already written off Israel’s chances of progression as Spain also feature in Group B, alongside Albania, Macedonia and Lichtenstein.

With only the top team qualifying automatically and the second team going to the play-off, a shock victory over either Italy or Spain is required at the very least, if Israel is going to progress.

Levy said: “We know that Italy are one of the finest teams in the world and they proved it in the Euro 2016 finals.

“But in football there is always a chance and you have to be optimistic.

“If we play well, with discipline and commitment and the crowd gets behind us, we can pull off a surprise."


Goalkeepers: Ariel Harush (Hapoel Tel Aviv), Dudu Goresh (Hapoel Beer Sheva), Boris Klaiman (Beitar Jerusalem)

Defenders: Shir Tzedek (Hapoel Beer Sheva), Eitan Tibi (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Rami Gershon and Ofir Davidzada (Gent), Ben Bitton (Hapoel Beer Sheva), Eli Dasa (Maccabi Tel Aviv).

Midfielders: Beram Kayal (Brighton), Bibras Nathko (CSKA Moscow), Nir Bitton (Celtic), Dan Einbinder (Beitar Jerusalem), Eyal Golasa (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Sheran Yeini (Vitesse), Roi Kahat (Maccabi Haifa), Omer Atzili (Granada), Firas Mugrabi (Maccabi Haifa), Kenny Saief (Gent).

Forwards: Moanes Dabour (Red Bull Salzburg), Tomer Hemed (Brighton), Tal Ben Haim (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Eran Zahavi (Guangzhou - capt)

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