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footballnut said:
give me a run down of the Israeli team? who are the best players and who do they play for?
I'll try to write something in short, maybe I'll add later tomorrow. Others can add some more as well. :)

Well in short, Israel's premier division has 12 teams. There are 4 big clubs in Israel generally and they are:

Maccabi Haifa
Maccabi Tel Aviv
Hapoel Tel Aviv
Beitar Jerusalem

With that being said, despite championships and good European campaigns (especially for Hapoel 4 years ago) from both Tel Aviv teams in the past 5 years, Maccabi Haifa has been dominating the league in the last few seasons. At some point this season they had a 19 points lead over second place...This will be their third title in 4 seasons. Maccabi Tel Aviv was in the CL this season but had a rotten league season, they are a midtable team now but can still win the cup. Hapoel is stuck in the bottom half and have suffered from financial problems, ironically partially due to their amazing run a few years ago in Europe due to high premium demands by players. And Beitar has been pretty much mediocre for the past 6 years, also due to financial issues. You can say Beitar and Maccabi Tel Aviv are by far the most popular two teams in Israel although Haifa aren't much behind them. The Israeli league is very poor to say the truth, the quality is low, the games are boring and there is no real competition for anything. But hey it's our league so we gotta stick to it :) There are a few good players in Israel though and a few International players, mainly from African countries such as Ghana and Nigeria. Africa is the dominant continent for foreigners in Ligat Ha'Al in the last few years and we definitely had some very good players coming from there, for example Yakubu from Portsmouth did his first steps right here with Maccabi Haifa and Hapoel Kfar Saba.

As for our stars abroad, the most dominant of them is Yossi Benayoun. He is a 24 years old midfielder and next season should be his big breakthrough, when he finally leaves Santander and joins a better side in Spain or England possibly. There are other players abroad such as Tal Ben Haim (Bolton, defender), Dudu Awat (Santander, goalkeeper), Pini Balili (Kayserispor, Turkey) and Omri Afek (midfielder, Salamanca on loan from Santander).

That's it for now. :)
 

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Here is a photo of Yossi Benayoun :

http://www.irmostars.com/fotos/benayoun.jpg

There is a general consensus that Benayoun is our best player at the present and may well develop into our best all time player. As far as locally based players on the national team, striker Yaniv Katan of Maccabi Haifa is among the best of them. He is a bit younger than Benayoun and a much more physical player. Scored 2 goals (one in each game) against Manchester United in the Champions League. May be on the way to Europe next year. Here is a photo from a game against France:

http://us.news1.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/i/fifa/gen/fifa/20040904/i/837257453.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Good information guys! thanks for the pics :) for a fairly small league you guys are doing pretty well against some good teams. Would you say this is your strongest NT to date?
 

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footballnut said:
Good information guys! thanks for the pics :) for a fairly small league you guys are doing pretty well against some good teams. Would you say this is your strongest NT to date?
Well, look at the Irish team. Their league is to say the least.. crap. But many of their best players play in English leagues. Not all of the Israeli players play in Israel.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yeah, that's true. The Irish league is crap but no player on the NT actually plays in it. It's like a second division but any decent Irish footballer plays in england or scotland. A little different for Israel tho as the majority of your NT players still play in Israel. Which BTW is the same with the Egyptian NT.
 

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MSAshdod said:
Well, look at the Irish team. Their league is to say the least.. crap. But many of their best players play in English leagues. Not all of the Israeli players play in Israel.
Yeah thats why i said SOME players play outside Israel
 

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footballnut said:
Good information guys! thanks for the pics :) for a fairly small league you guys are doing pretty well against some good teams. Would you say this is your strongest NT to date?
Actually our national team is in a bit of a transition stage. Over the first decade in UEFA we more or less had a set of players (Berkovic, Revivo, etc.) who played on the national team. A lot of people would probably say that the national team had more talent then than it does now. Meanwhile most of them have retired or are off the national team. So the present team is bringing in younger players. Maybe they have less talent but are a bit more "hungry" for success. Personally I doubt that we will make it to the 2006 WC. It will take a while to rebuild and hopefully in the coming years we will have a better chance with the players on our U-21 team who look very good.
 

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MM hit the nail on the head. The former generation was the so-called golden age but they couldn't bring the right results. The new generation is younger and hungry for success. And the future looks good, the present isn't that bad but it will be hard to qualify with away matches at Ireland and Switzerland left.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Good luck you guys! The US will be in for sure and it's a decent team that just might be able to surprise a few people. Egypt has to win every single one for their games to make it unless they get some unexpected help from Benin or Sudan. Still mathematically unlikely which is too bad because it's a good team.
 

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Raanan said:
MM hit the nail on the head. The former generation was the so-called golden age but they couldn't bring the right results. The new generation is younger and hungry for success. And the future looks good, the present isn't that bad but it will be hard to qualify with away matches at Ireland and Switzerland left.
Well the main reason for this NT relative success is because the former generation enjoyed the short lived economicall boom of Israeli football, so many players were payed very well in Israeli standarts but now when it's over, Israeli players understand that is better to play in Europe (even for a similar wage and small teams in relatively weak european leagues) than to stay in Israel, and because the league became much weaker, the only way to prove yourself to international scouts and managers is on the international level.
 

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KSO said:
Well the main reason for this NT relative success is because the former generation enjoyed the short lived economicall boom of Israeli football, so many players were payed very well in Israeli standarts but now when it's over, Israeli players understand that is better to play in Europe (even for a similar wage and small teams in relatively weak european leagues) than to stay in Israel, and because the league became much weaker, the only way to prove yourself to international scouts and managers is on the international level.
You are right of course. Let's not forget that most of our squad is still based on local players though.
 
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