Is­rael has noth­ing to fear, says Lu­zon

The Jewish Chronicle - - Sport - BY SI­MON GRIVER

Avi Lu­zon be­lieves that Is­rael has noth­ing to fear af­ter his team were drawn against Por­tu­gal and Rus­sia in their World Cup qual­i­fy­ing group for the fi­nals in Brazil in 2014.

Al­though the draw looks tough, with only the top side qual­i­fy­ing au­to­mat­i­cally, and the run­ners-up fac­ing a play­off, Is­rael FA chair­man Lu­zon was quick to stress that Is­rael had been for­tu­nate in avoid­ing the tough­est teams in­clud­ing Spain, Ger­many and Italy.

“The draw could have been eas­ier but it could also have been a lot harder,” said Lu­zon. “We have proved we can han­dle the Rus­sians. In the Euro 2008 qual­i­fiers, we beat Rus­sia at home and drew in Moscow.

“Por­tu­gal with Ron­aldo will be in­ter­est­ing but we must take the max- imum points off the weaker teams.”

North­ern Ire­land, Azer­bai­jan and Lux­em­bourg com­plete Group F.

Cap­tain Yossi Be­nay­oun is rel­ish­ing the chal­lenge. “It is not an easy group and it will be great to play against Por­tu­gal,” he said. “But it is too soon to dis­cuss what our chances are of reach­ing the World Cup fi­nals as we must fo­cus on the Euro 2012 qual­i­fiers.

“If we can beat Greece at home next month, we will have a great chance of qual­i­fy­ing.”

Is­rael man­ager Luis Fer­nan­dez has named his strong­est pos­si­ble squad for next week’s friendly against the Ivory Coast in Switzer­land.

Fer­nan­dez said: “The only thing that’s re­ally im­por­tant now is the next qual­i­fier against Greece. “We’ll have enough time to think about the World Cup games when the time comes.”

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