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Israel national football team

The Israel national football team (Hebrew: נבחרת ישראל בכדורגל‎, Nivḥeret Yisra'el BeChaduregel) represents Israel in international football, and is governed by the Israel Football Association (IFA).

Israel
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s)הכחולים-לבנים (The Blue and Whites)
AssociationIsrael Football Association (IFA)
ConfederationUEFA (Europe; 1994–present)
AFC (Asia; 1954–74)
Head coachAndi Herzog
CaptainBibras Natkho
Most capsYossi Benayoun (102)[1]
Top scorerMordechai Spiegler (33)[2]
Home stadiumTeddy Stadium (Jerusalem)
Sammy Ofer Stadium (Haifa)
Turner Stadium (Be'er Sheva)
FIFA codeISR
First colours
Second colours
FIFA ranking
Current 93 Decrease 4 (28 November 2019)[3]
Highest15 (November 2008)
Lowest99 (January 2018)
Elo ranking
Current 70 Decrease 4 (25 November 2019)[4]
Highest23 (April 1976)
Lowest81 (December 1959)
First international
Mandatory Palestine (Eretz Israel):
 Egypt 7–1 Mandatory Palestine Mandatory Palestine
(Cairo, Egypt; 16 March 1934)
Israel:
United States USA Olympic Team 3–1 Israel Israel
(New York, United States; 26 September 1948)
Biggest win
Israel Israel 9–0 Chinese Taipei 
(Wellington, New Zealand; 23 March 1988)
Biggest defeat
Mandatory Palestine (Eretz Israel):
 Egypt 7–1 Mandatory Palestine Mandatory Palestine
(Cairo, Egypt; 16 March 1934)
Israel:
 Germany 7–1 Israel Israel
(Kaiserslautern, Germany; 12 February 2002)
World Cup
Appearances1 (first in 1970)
Best resultGroup stage, 1970
Asian Cup
Appearances4 (first in 1956)
Best result1st, gold medalist(s) Champions, 1964

Israel's national team is the direct successor of the Mandatory Palestine (Eretz Israel) national football team, which played five internationals in 1934–1940, and was managed by the Eretz Israel Football Association. Israel has competed in FIFA World Cup qualifiers in three different confederations, competing in the Asian Football Confederation before settling in Europe as a member of the Union of European Football Associations in 1994.

The Israeli side qualified for their only FIFA World Cup to date in 1970. Israel has also hosted and won the AFC Asian Cup in 1964, and was a finalist in 1956 and 1960.

HistoryEdit

Football has a long tradition in Israel. The game was originally introduced during the time of the Ottoman Empire. The Palestinian Football Association was formed in August 1928, and joined FIFA in June 1929, but at the time the association was made up of Arab clubs, Jewish clubs, and clubs representing British policemen and soldiers serving in the region during the British Mandate rule that spanned the period between World War One and the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. The British Mandate of Palestine national team made its debut against Egypt in 1934 FIFA World Cup qualification, losing 1–7 in Cairo. The team played five international matches, including a friendly match against Lebanon, until the British Mandate for Palestine was dissolved. During those five games, the national team fielded only Jewish players. Three anthems were played before each match: the British "God Save the King", the Jewish (and future Israeli) "Hatikvah" and the opposing team's anthem.[5]

In 1948 the team became, officially, the national team of Israel. The Israel national team's first match as an independent nation was on 26 September 1948, against the USA Olympic Team. The game was won by the USA 1–3, and in the 20th minute of the game Shmuel Ben-Dror scored the first goal after the creation of the State of Israel.

Asian Football Confederation membershipEdit

 
Nahum Stelmach kicking; 1959

Israel competed in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) between 1954 and 1974. Due to the Arab League boycott of Israel, several Muslim countries refused to compete against Israel. The political situation culminated in Israel winning the 1958 World Cup qualifying stage for Asia and Africa without playing a single game, forcing FIFA to schedule a playoff between Israel and Wales to ensure the team did not qualify without playing at least one game (which Wales won).

 
Israel won the 1964 AFC Asian Cup.

Israel hosted and won the 1964 AFC Asian Cup. In 1968, Israel went to their first Olympic Games and lost to Bulgaria in the quarterfinals.

In 1969, Israel qualified for its first and only FIFA World Cup, via Asia/Oceania, and earned two points after draws with Sweden and finalist Italy, and a loss to Uruguay.

In 1976, Israel went to its second Olympic Games and lost in the quarterfinals again, this time against Brazil. In 1972 and 1977, it attempted World Cup qualification as part of Asia, which both times ended in failure.

Years in exileEdit

In 1974, Israel was excluded from AFC competitions, as a result of a proposal by Kuwait which was adopted by a vote of 17 to 13 with 6 abstentions.[6] The vote coincided with the 1974 Asian Games, where the football competition was marred by the refusal of both North Korea[7] and Kuwait to play second-round matches against Israel.

During the 1980s, it played the majority of its matches against European teams, and competed in the European stage of qualification for the 1982 FIFA World Cup. For the next two tournaments, it entered Oceania's qualification stage. In 1989, Israel made it to the CONMEBOL–OFC play-offs for the 1990 World Cup to play against Colombia, which qualified from the South American group, but lost (1–0, 0–0).

European Football Confederation membershipEdit

 
Yossi Benayoun is Israel's most capped player with 102 caps.

In 1991, Israeli clubs began participating in European club competitions, and Israel returned to the European leg of World Cup qualifying in 1992. In 1994, Israel received full UEFA membership, 20 years after it had left Asia. Within Europe, Israel has been a relatively minor nation, though with some successes, notably winning 3–2 in Paris against France in 1993, and 5–0 against Austria in 1999. That year, Israel made it to the UEFA Euro 2000 qualifying play-offs, but was beaten by Denmark.

 
Avram Grant is the youngest national coach of Israel.

Israel came close to advancing to the playoff stage in their 2006 World Cup qualifying group, finishing third, behind France, and tied on points with Switzerland, which also remained unbeaten in 10 matches after 4 wins and 6 draws. The Swiss had a better goal difference, though, and advanced to the qualification play-off. Coach Avram Grant announced his resignation on 26 October 2005. After the end of his contract, he was succeeded by Dror Kashtan.

In UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying, Israel came very close to qualifying for the final tournament, but finished fourth in Group E, just one point behind second-placed Russia, who qualified directly with Croatia, and level on 23 points with England, who also failed to advance. The 4–3 home loss to Croatia was the first loss after 13 consecutive official games and 9 home games without a loss.

In 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification, Israel again came in fourth, behind Switzerland, Greece, and Latvia. For the UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying campaign, Kashtan was replaced as coach by Frenchman Luis Fernández, but to no avail, as Israel finished a distant third behind Greece and Croatia.

The continued presence of the Israeli Football Association in UEFA was a precedent cited by Australia to justify its transfer from the Oceania Football Confederation to the Asian Football Confederation.[8]

All-time head-to-head recordEdit

As of 7 June 2019.

  Positive record   Neutral record   Negative record

  1. ^ Includes matches against   West Germany.
  2. ^ Includes matches against   Soviet Union.
  3. ^ Includes matches against   Yugoslavia and   Serbia and Montenegro.
  4. ^ As   South Vietnam.

Home stadiumEdit

 
Teddy Stadium of Jerusalem, Israel's largest stadium
 
Sammy Ofer Stadium of Haifa, Israel's second largest stadium
 
Turner Stadium of Be'er Sheva, Israel's newest stadium

In the past, the Israel national football team's home stadium was the Ramat Gan Stadium in Ramat Gan. The stadium seats 41,583 and was the first stadium in Israel to meet world-class standards.

Ever since 2014 Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa (30,780 seats), ever since 2015 Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem (31,733 seats), and ever since 2018 Turner Stadium in Be'er Sheva (16,126 seats), are being used as the official home stadiums of the Israel national football team. All three are considered to be world-class standard stadiums. The Israel Football Association has used Teddy stadium while hosting the 2013 Euro U21 championship in Israel.

Kit suppliersEdit

Kit supplier Origin Period
Diadora Italy 1992–1995
Adidas Germany 2008–2018
Puma Germany 1985–1989, 1996–2008, 2018–present

HonoursEdit

TitlesEdit

  Winners (1): 1964.
  Runners-up (2): 1956, 1960.
  3rd place: 1968.
  Silver medal (1): 1974.

Competitive recordEdit

AFC Asian CupEdit

AFC Asian Cup record
Year Round Position GP W D* L GS GA
  1956 Runners-up 2nd 3 2 0 1 6 5
  1960 Runners-up 2nd 3 2 0 1 6 4
  1964 Champions 1st 3 3 0 0 5 1
  1968 Third Place 3rd 4 2 0 2 11 5
  1972 Withdrew
Total 1 Title 4/15 13 9 0 4 28 15

Israel did not compete in a regional competition between the years 1968 and 1994, although in 1972 they were scheduled to compete in the AFC Asian Cup.

*Denotes draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.
**Gold background colour indicates that the tournament was won.
***Red border color indicates tournament was held on home soil.

FIFA World CupEdit

Year Round Position GP W D* L GF GA
as   Mandatory Palestine (Eretz Israel)
  1930 Did not enter
  1934 Did not qualify
  1938
as   Israel
  1950 Did not qualify
  1954
  1958
  1962
  1966
  1970 Group stage 12th 3 0 2 1 1 3
  1974 Did not qualify
  1978
  1982
  1986
  1990
  1994
  1998
   2002
  2006
  2010
  2014
  2018
  2022
      2026
Total 1/23 3 0 2 1 1 3
*Draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks

Asian GamesEdit

Asian Games Record
Year Result GP W D* L GS GA
  1951 Did not qualify
  1954
  1958 Quarterfinals 3 2 0 1 6 3
  1962 Did not qualify
  1966
  1970
  1974 Runners-up 7 6 0 1 24 4
  1978 Did not qualify
  1982
Total 2/13 10 8 0 2 30 7

Summer Olympic GamesEdit

Summer Olympic Games record
Year Round Position GP W D L GS GA
  1952 Did not qualify
  1956
  1960
  1964
  1968 Quarter-finals 4 2 0 2 9 7
  1972 Did not qualify
  1976 Quarter-finals 4 0 3 1 4 7
  1980 Withdrew
  1984 Did not qualify
  1988
Total Quarter-finals 2/10 8 2 3 3 13 14

Since the 1992 Summer Olympics, the football competition is played as an Under-23 competition

*Denotes draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.
**Gold background colour indicates that the tournament was won.
***Red border color indicates tournament was held on home soil.

UEFA Nations LeagueEdit

UEFA Nations League record
Year Division Group Round Pos Pld W D L GF GA RK P/R
2018–19 C 1 Group stage 2nd 4 2 0 2 6 5 30  
2020–21 C To be determined
Best/total C Group stage 1/1 4 2 0 2 6 5 30

UEFA European ChampionshipEdit

UEFA European Championship record UEFA European Championship Qualification record
Year Round Position Pld W D * L GF GA Pld W D L GF GA
1960–1992 Not a UEFA member Not a UEFA member
  1996 Did not qualify 10 3 3 4 13 13
    2000 8 4 1 3 25 9
  2004 8 2 3 3 9 11
    2008 12 7 2 3 20 12
    2012 10 5 1 4 13 11
  2016 10 4 1 5 16 14
  2020
Total 0/7 48 21 10 17 80 56
*Denotes draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.
**Gold background colour indicates that the tournament was won.
***Red border color indicates tournament was held on home soil.


2020 UEFA European Championship qualifiersEdit

Israel advanced to the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying play-offs, based on results in the UEFA Nations League.

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification            
1   Poland 10 8 1 1 18 5 +13 25 Qualify for final tournament 0–0 2–0 3–2 4–0 2–0
2   Austria 10 6 1 3 19 9 +10 19 0–1 2–1 1–0 3–1 6–0
3   North Macedonia 10 4 2 4 12 13 −1 14[a] 0–1 1–4 2–1 1–0 3–1
4   Slovenia 10 4 2 4 16 11 +5 14[a] 2–0 0–1 1–1 3–2 1–0
5   Israel 10 3 2 5 16 18 −2 11 1–2 4–2 1–1 1–1 3–1
6   Latvia 10 1 0 9 3 28 −25 3 0–3 1–0 0–2 0–5 0–3
Source: UEFA
Rules for classification: Tiebreakers
Notes:
  1. ^ a b Head-to-head points: North Macedonia 4, Slovenia 1.

Results and fixturesEdit

  Win   Draw   Loss

2019Edit

2020Edit

PlayersEdit

Current squadEdit

The following players were called up for Euro 2020 qualifying games against Poland on 16 November and against Macedonia on 19 November 2019.
Caps and goals updated as of 19 November 2019 after the match against North Macedonia.
Statistics include official FIFA-recognised matches only.

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK Ariel Harush (1988-05-25) 25 May 1988 (age 31) 20 0   Sparta Rotterdam
18 1GK Ofir Marciano (1989-10-07) 7 October 1989 (age 30) 16 0   Hibernian
23 1GK Yoav Gerafi (1993-08-29) 29 August 1993 (age 26) 0 0   Hapoel Tel Aviv

21 2DF Eitan Tibi (1987-11-16) 16 November 1987 (age 32) 41 1   Maccabi Tel Aviv
20 2DF Omri Ben Harush (1990-03-04) 4 March 1990 (age 29) 27 0   Lokeren
2 2DF Eli Dasa (1992-12-03) 3 December 1992 (age 27) 25 0   Vitesse
17 2DF Loai Taha (1989-11-26) 26 November 1989 (age 30) 12 0   Hapoel Be'er Sheva
5 2DF Orel Dgani (1989-01-08) 8 January 1989 (age 30) 12 0   Hapoel Tel Aviv
2DF Hatem Abd Elhamed (1991-03-18) 18 March 1991 (age 28) 5 0   Celtic
19 2DF Sun Menachem (1993-09-07) 7 September 1993 (age 26) 3 0   Maccabi Haifa

6 3MF Bibras Natkho (Captain) (1988-02-18) 18 February 1988 (age 31) 66 2   Partizan
8 3MF Beram Kayal (1988-05-02) 2 May 1988 (age 31) 45 2   Charlton Athletic
4 3MF Nir Bitton (1991-10-30) 30 October 1991 (age 28) 27 2   Celtic
3 3MF Dan Glazer (1996-09-20) 20 September 1996 (age 23) 7 0   Maccabi Tel Aviv
14 3MF Anthony Varenne (1990-06-24) 24 June 1990 (age 29) 4 0   Beitar Jerusalem
22 3MF Ilay Elmkies (2000-03-10) 10 March 2000 (age 19) 3 0   1899 Hoffenheim II
14 3MF Dolev Haziza (1995-07-05) 5 July 1995 (age 24) 2 0   Maccabi Haifa
16 3MF Neta Lavi (1996-08-25) 25 August 1996 (age 23) 1 0   Maccabi Haifa

7 4FW Eran Zahavi (1987-07-25) 25 July 1987 (age 32) 52 19   Guangzhou R&F
9 4FW Moanes Dabour (1992-05-14) 14 May 1992 (age 27) 21 7   Sevilla
10 4FW Dia Saba (1992-11-18) 18 November 1992 (age 27) 10 3   Guangzhou R&F
12 4FW Shon Weissman (1996-02-14) 14 February 1996 (age 23) 4 0   Wolfsberger

Recent call-upsEdit

The following players have also been called up to the Israeli squad on the last 12 months.

Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club Latest call-up

DF Taleb Tawatha (1992-06-21) 21 June 1992 (age 27) 18 1   Ludogorets Razgrad v.   Poland, 16 November 2019 INJ
DF Raz Shlomo (1999-08-13) 13 August 1999 (age 20) 0 0   Hapoel Tel Aviv v.   Latvia, 15 October 2019
DF Ben Bitton (1991-01-03) 3 January 1991 (age 28) 5 0   Hapoel Be'er Sheva v.   North Macedonia, 5 September 2019 INJ
DF Sheran Yeini (1986-12-08) 8 December 1986 (age 33) 28 0   Maccabi Tel Aviv v.   Poland, 10 June 2019 INJ
DF Ayid Habshi (1995-05-10) 10 May 1995 (age 24) 4 0   Maccabi Haifa v.   Poland, 10 June 2019
DF Rami Gershon (1988-08-12) 12 August 1988 (age 31) 26 2   Maccabi Haifa v.   Austria, 24 March 2019

MF Gadi Kinda (1994-01-01) 1 January 1994 (age 25) 0 0   Beitar Jerusalem v.   Poland, 16 November 2019 INJ
MF Dor Peretz (1995-05-17) 17 May 1995 (age 24) 14 1   Maccabi Tel Aviv v.   Latvia, 15 October 2019 INJ
MF Almog Cohen (1988-09-01) 1 September 1988 (age 31) 27 0   Maccabi Netanya v.   Austria, 10 October 2019 INJ
MF Dor Micha (1992-03-02) 2 March 1992 (age 27) 4 0   Maccabi Tel Aviv v.   Austria, 10 October 2019 INJ

FW Manor Solomon (1999-07-24) 24 July 1999 (age 20) 7 0   Shakhtar Donetsk v.   Latvia, 15 October 2019 INJ
FW Tomer Hemed (1987-05-02) 2 May 1987 (age 32) 38 17   Charlton Athletic v.   Slovenia, 9 September 2019
FW Ben Sahar (1989-08-10) 10 August 1989 (age 30) 44 8   Hapoel Be'er Sheva v.   Poland, 10 June 2019
FW Eylon Almog (1999-01-08) 8 January 1999 (age 20) 0 0   Maccabi Tel Aviv v.   Poland, 10 June 2019
FW Itay Shechter (1987-02-22) 22 February 1987 (age 32) 24 5   Maccabi Tel Aviv v.   Latvia, 7 June 2019 INJ
FW Alon Turgeman (1991-06-09) 9 June 1991 (age 28) 2 0   Austria Wien v.   Latvia, 7 June 2019 INJ
  • INJ Withdrew due to an injury.
  • PRE Preliminary squad.
  • SUS Suspended.
  • RET Retired from international football.

RecordsEdit

Most capped playersEdit

As of 10 June 2019, the ten players with the most caps[1] for Israel are:

Rank. Name Career Caps Goals
1 Yossi Benayoun 1998–2017 102 24
2 Tal Ben Haim 2002–present 96 2
3 Arik Benado 1995–2007 94 0
4 Alon Harazi 1992–2006 89 2
5 Amir Schelach 1992–2001 85 0
6 Mordechai Spiegler 1963–1977 83 33
Nir Klinger 1987–1997 83 2
8 Avi Nimni 1992–2005 80 17
9 Tal Banin 1990–2003 78 12
Itzhak Shum 1969–1981 78 10
Eyal Berkovic 1992–2004 78 9
Dudu Aouate 1999–2013 78 0

Bold denotes still active players.

Top goalscorersEdit

 
Mordechai Spiegler (middle) is Israel's top scorer with 33 goals.

As of 10 June 2019, the ten players with the most goals[2] for Israel are:

Rank. Player Career Goals Caps Average
1 Mordechai Spiegler 1963–1977 33 83 0.39
2 Yehoshua Feigenbaum 1966–1977 24 50 0.48
Yossi Benayoun 1998–2017 24 102 0.24
4 Ronen Harazi 1992–1999 23 53 0.43
5 Nahum Stelmach 1956–1968 22 61 0.36
6 Gidi Damti 1971–1981 21 69 0.30
7 Eran Zahavi 2010–present 19 50 0.38
8 Giora Spiegel 1965–1980 18 44 0.40
Yehoshua Glazer 1949–1961 18 35 0.51
9 Eli Ohana 1984–1997 17 51 0.33
Avi Nimni 1992–2005 17 80 0.21
Tomer Hemed 2011–present 17 37 0.46

Bold denotes still active players.

ManagersEdit

WDL record since 1948Edit

Team From To Record
P W D L Win %
  1948 2018 481 179 112 190 037.21

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "מס' הופעות בנבחרת" [No. of appearances in the national team] (in Hebrew). Israel Football Association. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  2. ^ a b "רשימת כובשים" [List of goalscorers] (in Hebrew). Israel Football Association. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  3. ^ "The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking". FIFA. 28 November 2019. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  4. ^ Elo rankings change compared to one year ago. "World Football Elo Ratings". eloratings.net. 25 November 2019. Retrieved 25 November 2019.
  5. ^ Mubarak, Hassanin. "Palestine – International Results – Details". RSSSF. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  6. ^ "Aust-Asian bid fails". The Sydney Morning Herald. 16 September 1974. p. 11. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  7. ^ Rahman, Mansoor (14 September 1974). "'Visibles' win without any kick..." New Straits Times. p. 22. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  8. ^ Williams, Richard (19 May 2015). "Why Does Israel's Football Team Play In Europe?". Sky News. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  9. ^ Win% is rounded to two decimal places

External linksEdit