Friday, January 5, 2018

Israel Greatest All-Time Team

Israel WC Finals 1970
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

This is the all-time team for Israel. If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament.

Due to political issue, Israel was a member of AFC and Oceania before joining UEFA in 1994.  While being a member of AFC, it has won the Asian Cup in 1964 and qualified for the World Cup Finals in 1970. In 1968, Israel reached the quarterfinal of the Summer Olympics. They were only eliminated by Bulgaria by a lucky draw(before penalty kick was created) and Bulgaria went on to win the Silver medal.

GK: Ya'akov Hodorov
Nicknamed "the Bird", he was considered by many to be Israel's best goalkeeper in history. He started with Maccabi Rishon LeZion and Hapoel Rishon LeZion. He moved to Hapoel Tel Aviv in 1947, the club where he stayed for most of his career.  Hodorov had 31 caps between 1949 and 1964.  The most memorable match of his career was in 1958 FIFA World Cup qualification against Wales at Cardiff, in which he suffered a broken nose in a collision with Welsh striker John Charles, but continued to play and made dozens of acrobatic saves.

GK: Avi Ran 
Avi Ran was projected to be one of the greatest players in Israel's football history, but he died at the age of 23 from a boating accident in 1987.  He was voted Israeli Player of the Year in 1986.  He played for Maccabi Haifa between 1981 and 1987. He made his senior debut at the age of 17 in the 1981-1982 season. He conceded only 18 goals in the 1985-86 season, the lowest in Maccabi Haifa's history. At the international level, he earned 8 caps from 1986 to 1987.
Avi Ran 
GK: Dudu Aouate
After playing for several clubs in his country, most notably with Hapoel Haifa. With Maccabi Tel Aviv, he made it the Champions' League Group Stage for the 2002-2003 season, first time for an Israeli club and recorded a victory over Manchester United. In He moved to Spain in 2003, going on to represent Racing de Satander, Deportivo La Coruña and Mallorca. Aouate won 78 caps for Israel, during 14 years

CB/RB: Tal Ben Haim
At the club level, Tal Ben Haim has played for Maccabi Tel Aviv, Bolton Wanderers, Chelsea, Manchester City, Sunderland, Portsmouth, West Ham United, Queens Park Rangers, Standard Liége and Charlton Athletic. His longest spells were with Bolton Wanderers and Portsmouth. He is also a member of the Israeli national squad. He made his debut for Israel on 13 February 2002 in a friendly match against Germany.  At the time of writing, he has 92 caps.
Tal Ben Haim
CB/DM: Nir Klinger
Nir Klinger spent six seasons with Maccabi Haifa before moving to Maccabi Tel Aviv for eight seasons. He won two Israeli championships with Maccabi Haifa and three championships and another two Israel State Cup with Maccabi Tel Aviv. He played 83 caps for the Israel national football team between 1987 and 1997, and captained the team from August 1992 until March 1997.

CB: Menachem Bello
Menachem Bello played for the Israel national team between 1965 and 1975. He was part of the Israel squad for the 1970 World Cup. He also played in the 1968 Summer Olympics. At club level, Bello played solely for Maccabi Tel-Aviv. He made his debut for them at the age of 16 in 1964. It was the club's greatest period, where they were Asian champion.

CB: Arik Benado  
Arik Benado started his career with Maccabi Haifa in 1991, where his father also played for Maccabi Haifa in the 1970's. Besides Maccabi Haifa, he also played for Beitar Jerusalem. He won the Israeli league 9 times. Benado is also a long-standing member of the Israeli national team where he holds the record as the most capped player with 94 caps between 1995 and 2007.
CB: Zvi Rosen 
Born in West Germany, Rosen is the son of two survivors of the Warsaw ghetto. He played 42 offical games for Israel and went to the Summer Olympics in 1968 and the WC Finals in 1970.  Rosen played for Maccabi Tel Aviv from 1965 to 1977, winning three championships, four state cups and two Asian championships. He also played for Hapoel Yehud.

LB: Avi Cohen
Avi Cohen began his playing career with Maccabi Tel Aviv, where he is considered an all-time great. He was best remembered for playing with Liverpool between 1979 and 1981.  He also played for Rangers in Scotland for a single season playing under manager Graeme Souness who was his Liverpool teammate.  He was the first Israeli to play in England. At the international level, he had 51 caps between 1976 and 1988. He went to the 1976 Olympics playing for Israel as the Asian representative.
Avi Cohen
LB: Moshe Leon
Born in Bulgaria, Leon spent his entire career with Maccabi Jaffa. He was a member of the Asian Cup winning team in 1964, scoring the winning goal in the Final.  He had 26 caps. He is considered by many to be Maccabi's best footballer of all time. With the exception of four years, in which he played with Westview Apollon team from South Africa, Leon played all his years, from age 16 to age 41, at Maccabi Jaffa.

DM: David Primo 
Liked Moshe Leon, Primo was also born in Bulgaria.  He played for a number of clubs in Israel and the United States.  In Israel, Primo mainly played for Hapoel Tel Aviv.  He first appeared in Hapoel Tel Aviv's senior team in 1963, when he was 17. In the US, he played for NY Cosmos with Pele in 1975. He had 32 caps with Israel. He was a member of Israel's team at the 1970 World Cup Finals.

DM: Tal Banin
Tal Banin played for a number of clubs in Israel at the club level.  He was best remembered for his stints with Hapoel Haifa and
Maccabi Haifa.  In 1993, he joined AS Cannes in France. In 1997, he became the first Israeli to play in Italy's Serie A when he joined Brescia. He played there between 1997 and 2000.  At the international level, he had over 80 caps.  He captained the Israeli national team between 1997 and 2003.
Tal Banin
CM: Uri Malmilian 
Malmilian is all-time great with Beitar Jerusalem.  He won Beitar's first important trophy, the Israeli Cup in 1976. In 1986 Malmilian was the Top Scorer of the Israeli league with 14 goals in 30 matches. In 1987, he partnered with Eli Ohana to bring the club its first championship. He made his national team debut before at the age of 18. He is the youngest ever player to be on the Israel national team. 

CM: Giora Spiegel 
Giora Spiegel is a member of the Israeli Football Hall of Fame since 2009. He played with Maccabi Tel Aviv.  In 1973, he joined Strasbourg, where he played until 1978.  In 1978, he joined Lyon. After a season, he returned to Israel.  He was capped 44 times.  Giora Spiegel is the son of Eliezer Spiegel, who played for Maccabi Petah Tikva and the Israel national football team. 

LW: Roby Young 
Young started with Hapoel Haifa in 1959.  He earned his first cap as a 17 years old. In 1961, he scored a goal against Italy, the goal was considered to be important for Israeli football.  He also represented Israel at the 1968 Summer Olypmics. At the time of his retirement, he was Israel cap record holder. Later, he played for Adelphi University in the US.  In 1972-1973, he played for NY Cosmos.

AM/CM: Eyal Berkovic 
Berkovic started with Maccabi Haifa in 1989.  After a successful loan move to Southampton in England, he joined West Ham in 1997. He went on to play for Celtic, Manchester City, Blackburn Rovers and Portsmouth before returning home to play for Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2005. He had 78 caps for the national team from 1992 to 2004.

AM: Yossi Benayoun 
Benayoun is Israel's most well-known player.  He played for Hapoel Be'er Sheva and Maccabi Haifa before moving to Racing de Santander in Spain. Three years later he moved to West Ham United, and later Liverpool. In 2010, he signed for Chelsea, but then onward, his career in Europe was not so successful, despite winning the 2012–13 UEFA Europa League. He later had short career with Arsenal, West Ham(2nd stint) and Queens Park Rangers before returning to Maccabi Haifa. Benayoun is Israel's most capped player of all time with 102 caps.
Yossi Benayoun 
AM: Haim Revivo 
Haim Revivo played with Bnei Yehuda, Hapoel Tel Aviv and  Maccabi Haifa before heading in Europe.  Between 1996 and 2000, he played for Celta Vigo in Spain's La Liga.  Then, in 2000, he joined Fenerbahçe and became the first and only Jewish footballer to star in a Muslim country.  He was very successful there. He joined rivals Galatasaray in 2002, but he retuned home a season later in 2003. For international football, he had 67 caps.  He was named co-winner of the 1998 Israel Sports Figure of the Year Award.
Haim Revivo 
ST: Nahum Stelmach
His most recognizable attribute was the quality of his headers, with which he scored most of his international goals. As a result he was commonly nicknamed "the golden head" in Israel. He was chosen third by Yediot Aharonot's greatest Israeli footballers. He made a name for himself as the leader of Hapoel Petah Tikva, where he spent most of his career. He earned 61 caps.  In 1956, he finished as the top scorer of the AFC Asian Cup. 

LW/ST: Ronny Rosenthal
Rocket Ronny started his career with Maccabi Haifa before he played in Belgium with Club Brugge and Standard Liege.  In 1999, he moved to Liverpool in 1990 for a fee of £1.1million, becoming the first non-British player to move to an English club for more than £1million. He played there for 3 seasons.  He also played for Tottenham Hotspurs and Watford. He was capped 60 times for Israel.

Ronny Rosenthal 

ST: Eli Ohana  
Eli Ohana was considered to be one of Israel's greatest players.  He moved to Mechelen in 1987, where he was a key player winning the UEFA Cup.  He won the Bravo Award by Italy's Guerin Sportivo for the best Under-23 player in Europe. He was capped 50 times for Israel.  During an important WCQers against Australia in 1989, he scored the first goal and kissed the Star of Davids in front of the Australian coach Frank Arok who alleged to have made an antisemitic remark before the game. 

ST: Yehoshua Feigenbaum
Born in Austria, Yehoshua Feigenbaum moved to Israel as a one year old. Most of his career were spent with Hapoel Tel Aviv, where he won the AFC Club Championship in 1967.  He is the all-time leading scorer for Hapoel Tel Aviv with 132 league goals, and a total of 175 goals in all competitions. He was capped over 50 times between 1966 and 1977.  He went to the 1968 Summer Olympics and the 1970 World Cup Finals. 

ST: Mordechai Spiegler
Mordechai Spiegler played for Maccabi Netanya along with Paris Saint Germain in France and alongside Pelé for New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League in the 1970s. He was chosen as the Israeli Player of the Year a record four times, in 1967/68, 1968/69, 1969/70, and in 1970/71.  Spiegler helped Israel to win the 1964 AFC Asian Cup.  He also helped Israel to qualify for the World Cup  in Mexico. He scored Israel's lone goal in World Cup history in a 1–1 draw against Sweden. He captained the Israeli Olympic team at Mexico City 1968. 
Mordechai Spiegler

Honorable Mention
Itzhak Vissoker, Itzhak Shum, Nir Davidovich, Ronen Harazi, Boni Ginzburg, Rifaat Turk, Avi Nimni, David Pizanti, Vicky Peretz, Yisha'ayahu Schwager, Eran Zahavi, Tal Ben Haim.

Squad Explanation
-- In the 1960's, Israel played in AFC, where it was a rival to Iran, South Korea and Republic of China (Hong Kong) for supremacy in Asia.  They were the 1964 AFC Asian Cup Champion. Roby Young. Moshe Leon, Nahum Stelmach and David Primo are on my all-time team.
-- Israel went to its first WC Finals in 1970.  Mordechai Spiegler captained the side.  Zvi Rosen, David Primo, Yehoshua Feigenbaum and Menachem Bello also went to Mexico that year. The same generation of players qualified for the 1969 Summer Olympics.
-- Mordechai Spiegler and David Primo played with NY Cosmos alongside Pele.  Roby Young also played NY Cosmos, but in the early 1970's. 
-- Mordechai Spiegler is probably Israel's greatest player.  He was Israel's choice for UEFA Jubilee Player Award.
-- After the 1976 Olympics, Israel did not qualify for any major tournament, largely due to boycott by Arab teams.  Israel later played in Oceania and the UEFA
-- Ya'akov Hodorov is the obvious choice for keepers. Avi Ran has legendary status, but his career was cut short.  He had that "you'll never know" factor that counted against him. I took him as the second keeper. For the third keeper, Itzhak Vissoker is in Israel Football Hall of Fame, but Dudu Aouate has established a career in Europe at the highest level in football.  He played in Spain. Boni Ginzburg also had some experience playing in Europe.  The third spot went to Dudu Aouate who had the best Europe experience.
-- Avi Cohen probably is the first Israeli player who grained international recognition in club football. His career with Liverpool FC was very well-known.  Later, Ronny Rosenthal also made a name in England with Liverpool.  He was the first non-UK player who was more than a million pound transfer. Yossi Benayoun started his career well in Spain and England.  He played well again with Liverpool, but his career after Liverpool in England had mixed review.  
-- Tal Banin became the first Israeli to play in Italy's Serie A when he joined Brescia, but his career in Europe had been plagued by injuries.
-- Arik Benado is the appearance record holder for Israel.
-- Rifaat Turk was the first Arab who played for Israel.  He got a special honourable mention here.
-- Haim Revivo not only achieved stardom in Europe.  He also did it in a Muslim country with Fenerbahçe as a Jewish player.  He deserved a special place.  
-- Nahum Stelmach's goal against the Soviet Union and Lev Yashin was considered a defining moment for Israeli football in 1956.  He is considered one of Israeli greatest footballer.
-- David Pizant who spent some time in Europe would not break into the side with Moshe Leon and Avi Cohen ahead of him.  He is on my honorable mention.
-- In the 1980's, Vicky Peretz played French side RC Strasbourg, before moving to Stade Rennais. I have place left for him on the team.
-- Eran Zahavi and Tal Ben Haim are two of the current national team player who probably deserved a mention later in their careers.


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