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Benayoun dropped by Israel

    Yossi Benayoun has been dropped by Israel manager Eli Guttman ahead of the World Cup 2014 qualifying double-header against Luxembourg.

    The national captain, who has been a bit-part player since joining West Ham on a season-long loan from Chelsea, was one of a number of surprise omissions in a 23-man squad named ahead of the October 12 clash in Luxembourg, followed by the return fixture in Tel Aviv four days later.

    Benayoun, 32, had made 90 international appearances for the national team, second on the all-time list, and scored 24 goals.

    Guttman declined to comment on his shock decision, but he recently said that he would select players playing regularly for their clubs.

    Other senior players dropped include stalwart defender Tal Ben Haim, who remains without a club after leaving Portsmouth, Swansea forward Itai Shechter, Hertha Berlin striker Ben Sahar and midfielder Almog Cohen, who plays for Nuremburg in the Bundesliga.

    Israel' hopes of qualifying for the finals in Brazil already look slim after they followed up a a 1-1 away draw in Azerbaijan with a 4-0 defeat at home to by Russia.

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