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Israel coach Guy Luzon does not fear any of his side's UEFA European Under-21 Championship Group A opponents and, although he concedes the tournaments hosts will be underdogs going into Wednesday's curtain-raiser against Norway, he is determined to stick to his attacking principles in front of a sell-out 13,800 crowd in Netanya. Meanwhile, opposite number Tor Ole Skullerud thinks the opening game is too close to call but hopes his players have the experience to cope with the occasion.
Guy Luzon, Israel coach
Norway have beaten France in the play-offs and that tells you everything you need to know about the level of their team. They are very physical and they will give Italy and England a tough game. The weather will be fine tomorrow and it will not be a factor. They are favourites for the match but it will not change our attacking style which we showed in the pre-tournament matches.
I am not afraid of anyone, any team or any player. I don't know any players from the other teams and I focus only on my team. This is my way and I see no reason to change it – knowing too much sometimes makes the players afraid, instead of aware. If you know this guy is from Barcelona you play differently. On a personal level I am really excited but equally aware. My team is very relaxed and not stressed because we know we have done all that is needed to be as ready as we can be.
P14 W5 D2 L7 F18 A17
Fowards Orr Barouch and Munas Dabbur, responsible for nine pre-tournament goals between them, have recovered from injuries in time to be in contention for starting berths against Norway. In addition, Taleb Twatha, Edi Gotlib and Marwan Kabha have all proved their fitness after minor knocks.
Tor Ole Skullerud, Norway coach
Israel have a good team, they are well organised, physical and it will be a close game which can go either way. The Israel team will be full of energy like us. They have looked forward to playing this tournament, especially the first game in their home stadium in front of a capacity crowd. It will give them energy but the same goes for us, because we like to play games like this. Many of our players have played big games before for their clubs or with the national team. I hope we have the experience we need to cope.
I am positive regarding my team as we showed against France that we can beat teams at this level. At the same time I am humble coming here. I know all three teams in the group are very strong. We have played England and looked at Italy – they are very good teams and if we can progress from this group we will be very, very happy. We have good players in the positions where the four players [Valon Berisha, Joshua King, Håvard Nordtveit and Markus Henriksen] who are coming later, play. We have a good squad. I am very happy with the 19 here at the moment – that is what we had planned for from the beginning, so we have a very strong team for tomorrow.
2013 qualifying (including play-off)
P10 W7 D1 L2 F13 A7
Thomas Rogne did not play a full part in Monday's training session due to a stomach bug but was able to take his place on the training pitch on the eve of the game. Skullerud confirmed he has already named his starting XI to the players. "The team is picked and the players know who is starting," he said, without disclosing details to the media. Berisha, Henriksen, King and Nordtveit are all with the senior squad until after Friday's FIFA World Cup qualifier in Albania.
Israel have won three of their last four competitive U21 contests, and each of their last two, having ended their unsuccessful qualifying campaign for the 2011 finals with a 5-0 home victory against Montenegro and a 2-1 success in Sweden.
Did you know?
Norway have 14 players in their squad capped at senior level, while Israel have only four.
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