I voted "decent", because we were consistent in only ONE area: We took care of the lower-ranked teams and we let the higher-rank teams rape us, thus arriving to our usual and natural 3rd place finish.
I blame Fernandez only for his rotations. He needed a tighter rotation and not call up every player that had ONE good performance in the league. Pick a maximum of 25 players, stick with them throughout the campaign, and make a maximum of 5 changes throughout the campaign when it's absolutely neccessary. Is it that f**cking hard? Other than his rotations, he did fine with everything else. He should coach another campaign. As a foreign coach, I can't expect him to understand Israeli football, its best players, strengths, and weaknesses within one campaign. If they do fire him, there's only two ideal candidates for the position: Ivanir and Berkovic.
The rest(and the overwhelming majority) of the blame goes to the players. They all know how to perform against weaker opponents. But when it comes to stronger teams, they're all experts in bending over and taking it in the ass like professional hookers. They show absolutely no respect for themselves and their country. This mentality has to change. Ben Haim needs to be the captain in the next campaign. His strong mentality is exactly what team needs in a leader.
As for the Israeli media, they're just a joke to me. Yes, on paper we have a team that can fight for qualification, but these idiots in the media DEMAND qualification. WHAT ARE THESE EXPECTATIONS BASED ON? Aside from exporting Israeli footballers to Europe, Israeli Football has NOTHING to offer! Tactical knowledge and training does not exist. Physical training is even worse! The youth system is a joke compared to Europe. There's only ONE team in Israel that trains twice a day and that's not even close to European standards! Ligat Ha'al is constantly changing the number of teams, so growth and development is impossible. And on top of that, we still have the Israeli mentality that no one cares to address. So when these media idiots "expect" qualification, they're sending a clear message that they know absolutely nothing about football and its economics.
Seriously... If they're demanding qualification through Europe from ISRAEL, then what do the f**k do they expect from England, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Holland, Portugal, etc? Honestly, I only read their articles and listen to their commentary when I need a good laugh...
I agree with you analysis, only two issues I just wanted to share. Tal Ben Haim should be the captain, he gives it all in the pitch and plays with heart, an example of player we need as you say, has good mentality, but I get worried about his sudden slumps as in the game against Croatia. A true leader also knows his importance to the team and what he did showed he didn`t understand that. Our defense sucks and without him we are doomed.
Benayoun is the more diplomatic guy, the one that normally doesn`t have problems with anyone and appear to be calm. He is a leader for his talent and for what he did in his career, but maybe not the one to guide us from a terrible situation in terms of motivation and leadership. Media and many who envy him, simply bash him, but they have short memory and forget how many times he has saved us from being humbled on his solo efforts.
Another issue, is on the coach. One campaign maybe is a short time for a coach to be with the team, this is no exception to Fernandez. But as you said his roatations and lack of tactical and players consitency makes me think otherwise and we should get another coach. I agree on Ivanir and Berkovic, but maybe their lack of experience could prove us wrong and this wouldn`t be good right now.
Grant and Gutman are the natural candidates and I prefer to see the latter in the NT. He has good records with Israeli clubs in Europe and is known to disciplinarian.