Israel coach Elisha Levy says he’s confident his side could claim their first points of the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign, ahead of last night’s trip to Macedonia land a home match against Liechtenstein on Sunday.
The double-header of fixtures come on the back of an encouraging performance against Italy, which ended in a 3-1 home defeat last month. He said: “You can’t fool the fans. They stood up and applauded because they recognised our effort against Italy and I hope we see the same effort in these games as well.”
While not realistically having a chance of qualifying for Russia, being in a group alongside Italy and Spain, where only the winners qualify and runner-up has a chance of reaching the play-offs, Levy is looking for victories against their next two opponents – and the other side in the group Albania – to boost confidence ahead of their 2020 European qualifiers.
Also having to play down unrest from those players who didn’t make the 23-man squad for the two games, he said: “I can understand a player expressing disappointment if he’s not invited. As long as no lines have been crossed and the things that were said were in a dignified manner, and it was, then there’s no problem.
“I think the average age of the team is about 26. I am in regular contact with young players, track young talent and I hope to select even young players which will make the team even better.”
Levy also took the opportunity to pay tribute to the late Shimon Peres, saying: “I want to express my behalf and on behalf of the Football Association sorrow at the passing of Shimon Peres.”