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.”
Israel’s Beram Kayal is upended by Jan Vertonghen