Surprise recalls for Benayoun and Ben Haim

Veterans Yossi Benayoun and Tal Ben Haim have been recalled into Elisha Levy’s Israel squad.


The former Premier League stars were surprised picks for a friendly against Moldava in Netanya on June 6 followed by the World Cup qualifier at home to Albania in Haifa five days later.

Benayoun, 37, has not been selected since March 2016 and 35-year-old Ben Haim's last international appearance was in October 2015. Both players are in fine form with Maccabi Tel Aviv but had assumed their international careers were over. The squad will first travel to a training camp in Germany.

Brighton's Tomer Hemed, Celtic's Nir Bitton and Hapooel Tel Aviv goalkeeper Ariel Harush have all been omitted for voicing public criticism of Levy after the 4-1 defeat away to Spain in the World Cup qualifier in March. 

Eyebrows have been raised that only three players from champions Hapoel Beer Sheva have been named compared with seven from runners-up Maccabi Tel Aviv and four from fourth placed Maccabi Petach Tikva.


Goalkeepers: Dudu Goresh (Hapoel Beer Sheva), Danny Amos (Maccabi Petach Tikva), Omri Glazer (Maccabi Haifa).

Defenders: Tal Ben Haim (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Shir Tzedek (Hapoel Beer Sheva), Eitan Tibi (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Omer Danino (Maccabi Petach Tikva), Taleb Tawatha (Frankfurt), Eli Dasa (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Avi Rikan (Maccabi Tel Aviv) and David Keltjens (Beitar Jerusalem).

Midfielders: Yossi Benayoun (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Almog Cohen (Ingolstadt), Bibras Nathko (CSKA Moscow), Beram Kayal (Brighton), Eyal Golasa (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Dan Einbinder (Beitar Jerusalem), Gidi Kanyuk (Maccabi Petach Tikva), Idan Vered (Beitar Jerusalem), Manor Solomon (Maccabi Petach Tikva), and Lior Refaelov (Club Brugges).

Forwards: Tal Ben Chaim (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Eran Zahavi (Guangzhou)(capt.), Itay Shechter (Beitar Jerusalem), Ben Sahar (Hapoel Beer Sheva).

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