BENAYOUNCAP

Benayoun became Israel’s most capped player against Mexico

YOSSI BENAYOUN wrote himself into the record books last week when he became Israel’s most-capped footballer. His substitute appearance during Israel’s 3-0 defeat to Mexico was his 95th appearance for his country – breaking the previous record held by goalkeeper Arik Benado. His moment of history was the only plus point to take from Israel’s visit to the historic Azteca Stadium, and the former West Ham, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and QPR midfielder said: “I’m so proud to be Israel’s most capped player. And to break the record at this stadium, and to do it when Arik is here with us as the assistant coach is special.” The 34-year-old failed to make the starting-line up for their next game on Monday against Honduras, though it didn’t seem to bother them as they beat the World Cup-bound side 4-2.

WHILE THE national team do though continue to struggle at senior level, at least their youth teams are continuing to shine at the top level. While home advantage definitely helped them last summer, their displays at the U21 European Championships certainly gave them reasons for optimism. A successful U19 qualifying campaign has now seen them reach next month’s finals in Hungary, and if they can avoiding finishing bottom in the initial group stage, will book themselves a place at next year’s U20 World Cup.

THE WRITING has seemingly been on the wall for Shahar Peer’s tennis career for quite a while now, and her display at the French Open last week didn’t exactly offer much hope for an upturn in her dire form. Ranked a solitary place outside the top 10 three years ago, she’s now battling to stay in the top 100. However, her downward spiral has coincided with an upturn for Julia Glushko, who not only reached the third round at Roland Garros, but is also set to replace Peer as Israel’s number one singles player. First up for the 24-year-old, she’s targeted a top-50 place in the world rankings.