Mohammad Kalibat has been one of Israel's most prolific strikers in the pre-tournament friendlies and believes the hosts have no room for error, starting in Wednesday's opening game against Norway.
The 22-year-old Kalibat has scored five goals in 13 games since August 2010, including a brilliant strike against England, who only conceded three times in qualifying Group 8. Kalibat is confident the hosts are well prepared to kick off the tournament in style at the Netanya Municipal Stadium.
"When you look forward to something for this long, there is not a chance that we are not ready," said the Bnei Sakhnin FC striker, who scored five times in the Israeli Premier League this season to help the club avoid relegation. "We have so much energy for competitive football after two years of preparation matches.
"The first game is the key to success and we want to start on the right foot, not only because we are at home. Norway beat France [in the play-offs] and no side in an eight-team tournament is weak. If we consider the first match as easier than the others we will find ourselves out of the competition very fast.
"We can take a lot of inspiration from our progress in two years of preparation. We are a different team since we lost 4-1 in England [in September 2011] compared to the one that played against Germany and the Netherlands a few months ago, even though we lost."
For Ofir Krieff, the midfielder who only made his under-21 debut eight months ago but is now a regular in Guy Luzon's starting XI, it is Israel's collective strength that will be the key to success on home soil. "We are a team with no stars and that's a fantastic way to play," said the Beitar Jerusalem FC man. "We always judge our performances as a unit rather than individuals and against Norway it won't be any different.
"A strong system is always better than relying on one player's ability. Before Wednesday we are a big question mark but hopefully after the match we will be an exclamation mark."
©UEFA.com 1998-2013. All rights reserved.