Israel has little hope heading into the final qualifiers

The Israel National Team will play the last two games of their World Cup qualifying campaign over the next few days when they face Austria in Klagenfurt on Friday night and then host the Faroe Islands at Netanya Stadium on Monday for the night.

The Blue and Whites are still mathematically on the hunt for second place in Group F, which will mark their ticket to the playoff round, however, coach Willi Ruttensteiner’s team not only needs to win the remaining two games, it will also do so. . I need other results to fall favorably to move forward.

Israel is currently in third place with 13 points with Denmark at the top with a perfect record of eight wins in eight games, good for 24 points, while Scotland is in second place with 17 points. Austria is three points behind Israel with 10, as the Faroe Islands and Moldova are in the last two places to complete the group.

If Israel win their last two matches, they will finish with 19 points and need Scotland to lose points in Moldova and then at home in Glasgow. The chances are slim.

A third place would still be a positive result after starting the qualifying campaign in fourth place in the group.

This would allow the National Team to play tougher competition in Nations League action, which would be an advantage in continuing to test its mettle against teams that are ranked above it.

Ruttensteiner looked up to the challenge at hand with optimism as Israel tried to reach its first major international tournament since the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.

“The two remaining games against Austria and the Faroe Islands will be a great challenge and although there is still a small chance of finishing second, it is even more important for me to show everyone how we finished the campaign. I want to see the character of a winning team and for everyone to do their best in these two games.

“Qualifying is important but it doesn’t tell the whole story. The journey we’ve been on, and the process, has been the most important along with what we can do in the final two contests. I want to see a hungry national team that wants to take these last six points.

Israel is currently ranked 80th in the FIFA World Ranking and that is a number that Ruttensteiner wants to improve on.

“We need to be hungry to also climb the world rankings. That hunger must be more than in other football associations and, of course, against Austria. The Israel national team needs to accumulate six points. I will conduct this process with the players and staff during these two games. We have no excuses as we approach the end of the campaign. Once we’re done, I’ll go over the process. “

ISRAEL OBTAINED a 2-1 win over Moldova in qualifying for the World Cup on Tuesday night in what was probably a case of too little, too late. (credit: BERNEY ARDOV)

Ruttensteiner will return to his homeland of Austria for this game, which has added another twist to the bank boss’s story.

“Going to Austria is difficult and playing against them in their homeland will not be easy. I want to see everyone’s true passion. We are not a small association. We are a brave team with proper body language and, most importantly, I want everyone to give their all for the national team as we still have a slim chance of reaching second place. That is our goal, while third place would also be very good in my eyes.

The last time the two teams faced each other was in Haifa in September, when Israel went wild with a dominant 5-2 victory. Since that game, Israel had to play both Denmark and Scotland on the road and the result in both games was not what Ruttensteiuner wanted.

“Two months ago we scored five goals against Austria at home. Then in Denmark we played in front of a packed stadium and we played 30 good minutes before going down and then we played 60 good minutes in Scotland in a packed stadium. Hopefully we will take the next step in Austria and play a full 90 minutes of quality football. “

Israel has some great quality players. They were Zahavi, at PSV in the Netherlands, Monas Dabbur, at Hoffenheim in Germany and Manor Solomon, at Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine, all playing for top-tier clubs and continuing to instill addictive enthusiasm within the national team. There are other players who are about to make an impact, including the young Liel Abada, who plays his club at Celtic, as well as Shon Weissman, who practices his trade with Real Valladolid in the second division of Spain, but the minutes are limited.

“They are playing at a high level and we are very proud to have them with the team,” said Ruttensteiuner. We are focusing on the two games and we will count the points at the end and then we will evaluate everything, including how the young players are progressing and where we are. Abada helped us get a goal against the Faroe Islands, but we have a lot of good players for Israel and we don’t have a place for everyone.

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