The Israeli national team is shifting gears in its preparations for the pair of games against Belarus (16.6) and Andorra (19.6) in the 2024 European Championship qualifiers. In fact, the early gathering will bring most of the players without rest from the season they went through with their teams, so the physical preparation means a lot to the professional staff.
Sagiv Yehezkel and Dor Peretz preparing for the Israeli national team games // Photo: Danny Maron
"It's not an easy time to prepare a team for such important games," said team officials, adding: "There were years when players 'ran away' from gatherings in June, this time everyone came, even those who know they might play less and that means a lot."
As far as the squad is concerned, right-back and captain Eli Desa landed in Israel on Wednesday morning from Russia and arrived for training, but worked in the gym. Striker Liel Abada is expected to land from Scotland tomorrow while midfielder Netta Lavi will arrive directly in Budapest, as he expects another game with Gamba Osaka on Sunday. Only after that will he be released from his group.
Sagiv Yehezkel on the expectation of being dominant at the right defensive position as well: "I hope I am, in the end the coach will decide. I'm here and I want to help the team and give everything I can."
On the late career boom: "Not paying so much attention to what happened in the past, happy about the period I'm in and working hard to continue my ability. Happy to be on the Israeli national team, I've dreamed about it my whole life.
The defender added: "The goal is very clear - to activate to the euro. We do everything and work hard. We finished the league and started training early so that we will arrive at the upcoming games at the peak of readiness."
Sagiv Yehezkel, Dolev Haziza and Shawn WeismanAlan Shaver,
Dor Peretz: "The next games are very significant, we have to come as prepared as possible. The goals are the same."
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On the issue of favourites against Belarus and Andorra, compared to the previous window against Kosovo and Switzerland, Perez said: "This house is deceptive. Kosovo has also often underestimated them. All teams are at a high level. If we show our best football we will face every team, including Switzerland. Our ambition is 6 points in the upcoming games. On the other hand, no team is underestimated."
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