Israel's Future Looks Bright
Here're my thoughts on the NT.
Israel has some reason to be excited about the future. With the exception of goalies, who usually last longer because they don't get battered by hits to their knees, the team is still in its 20s.
I don't expect anyone to retire prior to the end of the EURO qualifiers, probably not even prior to the WC'14 qualifiers.
Meanwhile, some like Sahar will be ready for full-time duty and others like Assulin will contribute at least some.
Basically, there will be players coming in, but nobody leaving due to old age.
Israel has experienced vets, but nothing special. I am hoping Keinan can pick it up. I'd love to see a tall defender with a good leg so that he could clear headers on defense and score a few from the outside on offense, but nothing like that is on the way. I think defenders will be Israel's weakest spot with mediocre players like Strool, Ziv, Saban and Ben Dayan whose only positive is their experience.
DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDERS (DMF)
Tamir Cohen looked better as the qualifiers went on. So did Kayal, the Greek penalty notwithstanding. Kayal especially should show a lot of improvement. He's young and made some mistakes, but I like this kid. He'll be very good, very soon.
Between the two of them, DMF should be solid.
OFFENSIVE MIDFIELDERS (OMF)
Baruchyan, Buzaglo and/or Vermut will be ready. They would be a very good addition to the team, transporting the ball up.
Benayoun will still be around and in his prime. Together with Baruchyan or Buzaglo or Vermut, it will be a good pair of offensive midfielders.
I think Assulin will be ready for part-time duty. With his speed (and skill), he'll be effective coming in during the second half when others slow down because they get tired. If nothing else, he'll be able to play the role of Coby Jones during the 1994 WC.
Mohammad Ghadir should come in late in the game a couple of times, but likely won't play a significant role.
Israel's WMF will be very dangerous in EURO qualifiers. Finally there will be someone other than Benayoun to transport the ball through the midfield and close to the penalty box.
This is a position where Israel will show a lot of improvement.
Barda, Golan and Colautti (and maybe Toto) are all solid strikers, but Israel will need only 1 of them to start in any given game because Sahar should be ready for full time duty.
I expect big things from him a year from now. I expect that he'll be Israel's best player, better than Benayoun.
If I'm right, Israel will be most improved at F, and together with a very solid OMF, will have a very dangerous offense.
Goaltending and Defenders will continue to be on the third pot level, but midfielders should be solid second pot, and Forwards should be bottom first pot because Sahar is definitely a first pot talent (and at least one of the other 3 strikers should be in good form at any given time).
All in all, this team will only gain from this failed WC qualifier to the next EURO qualifier.
It's too bad Israel is the top team in pot 3. If it were just one spot higher, it would've been in the second pot and would again have a chance to have easier opposition. With the addition of talented youth, it would probably do well.
Even as a third pot team, Israel will finally have a decent amount of talent and hopefully will surprise us with a EURO'12 birth.