Over—and­out!

The Jewish Chronicle - - SPORT - BY SI­MON GRIVER

FOOTBALL THE search for Is­rael’s next man­ager has be­gun. Eli Guttman quit fol­low­ing the na­tional team’s fail­ure to qual­ify for Euro 2016.

Is­rael went into their last two matches wellplaced­tore­achthe­p­lay-offs­but­they suf­fered an em­bar­rass­ing 2-1 de­feat at home­toCypru­sandtheir­fate­wassealed with Bel­gium’s 3-1 vic­tory in Brus­sels.

Guttman said: “I al­ways be­lieved we could fin­ish third. We weren’t far from go­ing through but Bel­gium, Wales and Bos­nia were sim­ply bet­ter than Is­rael. I re­gret we didn’t suc­ceed but nei­ther was it a fail­ure.”

Hav­ing started the Group B cam­paign with three wins, Guttman will be left to re­flect on Is­rael’s fail­ure to reach what would have been their first Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships as they mus­tered only four points from a pos­si­ble 21 from their next seven matches.

He said: “It was and re­mains the pro­fes­sional pin­na­cle for any Is­raeli coach who dreams of one day of reach­ing such an ex­tremely pres­ti­gious po­si­tion.” Is­rael FA chair­man Ofer Eini said: “I have no doubt that ev­ery­body gave their ut­most best and strove to re­alise a dream.”

Guttman’s suc­ces­sor will have a thank­less task with Is­rael drawn in a tough World

Eli Guttman Cup 2018 qual­i­fy­ing group along­side Italy and Spain.

Eini said: “I have no plans to think about who will be Is­rael’s next man­ager in the com­ing days but I will be think­ing in se­ri­ous and com­pre­hen­sive terms on the right ways to move for­ward.”

Striker Eran Za­havi be­lieves the prob­lem is not just with the play­ers.

He said: “We shouldn’t set goals or make any state­ments next time but rather fo­cus on play­ing bet­ter and more pos­i­tive soc­cer.

“If Is­rael hasn’t reached any ma­jor tour­na­ment in more than 40 years then may­bethep­rob­lem­goes­be­yonda­given squad.”

PHOTOS: GETTY IM­AGES

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