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Israel need miracle against England

Published: Sunday 9 June 2013, 0.20CET
Israel are looking for a minor miracle when they take on eliminated England in their final Group A fixture in Jerusalem with just the faintest hope of reaching the semi-finals.
Israel need miracle against England
Israel's loss to Italy has left them on the brink of elimination ©Getty Images

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Goals scored3
Attempts on target6
Attempts off target14
Fouls committed35
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Red Cards1

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Published: Sunday 9 June 2013, 0.20CET

Israel need miracle against England

Israel are looking for a minor miracle when they take on eliminated England in their final Group A fixture in Jerusalem with just the faintest hope of reaching the semi-finals.

Israel are looking for a small miracle when they take on eliminated England in their final Group A fixture in Jerusalem with just a faint hope of reaching the UEFA European Under-21 Championship semi-finals.

• With a solitary point to their name, Guy Luzon's side trail second-placed Norway by three points and will leapfrog the Scandinavians only with a combination of a victory over England, a Norway loss to Italy and a six-goal swing in their favour. As for England, after two defeats they are simply playing for pride – and to avoid becoming the first English side to depart an U21 tournament without a point.

• The teams last played back in 2011 and Stuart Pearce's England will be hoping for a repeat of that result, having run out 4-1 winners in Barnsley.

Previous meetings
• Martyn Waghorn, Marvin Sordell, Nathan Delfouneso and Henri Lansbury helped England come from a goal down to prevail when Israel visited Oakwell on 5 September 2011. Mohammed Kalibat (25) gave Guy Luzon's Israel a first-half lead but two goals in quick succession from Waghorn (58) and Sordell (60) turned the match around. Delfouneso made it 3-1 from the penalty spot with eight minutes left, Lansbury adding a crowning fourth in the final minute.

• The teams were:
England: Amos, Wisdom (Smith 46), J Bennett, Rodwell (Lansbury 46), Dawson, Baker (Caulker 45), Gosling (Gardner 62), Barkley (Wickham 73), Shelvey (Oxlade-Chamberlain 46), Sordell, Waghorn (Delfouneso 62).
Israel: Klaiman, Vered, Davidzada, Mayo, Falah, Butbol (Zizov 54), Biton, Assulin (Lugassi 54), Kalibat (Kehat 68), Tzemah, Barouch (Dabour 68).

Match background
• Israel's only previous final tournament appearance came six years ago, when a team coached by Guy Levy lost all three fixtures in the Netherlands, against Portugal (0-4), Belgium and the hosts (both 0-1).

• Israel came into those finals having won three of their last four competitive U21 contests and both their last two having ended their unsuccessful qualifying campaign for the 2011 finals with a 5-0 home win against Montenegro and a 2-1 success in Sweden.

• Champions in 1982 and 1984, England are in a fourth successive U21 final tournament and were runners-up to Germany in 2009. Semi-finalists on a further five occasions, in 2011 they failed to progress beyond the group stage.

• England won nine of their ten qualifiers this time round, scoring 26 goals and conceding only three. They kept eight clean sheets, including five in succession prior to their first game against Italy.

Team ties
• Delfouneso scored an 80th-minute equaliser as England earned a 2-2 draw against Israel in a European U17 Championship elite round fixture on 30 March 2008. Nir Biton and Eyal Golasa played for Israel in that game.

• Taleb Twatha and Ahad Azam were in the Israel team beaten 1-0 by England in a U17 friendly in Peterborough on 29 August 2008.

• Twatha and Azam featured again when England beat Israel 4-0 in another U17 friendly on 24 February 2009. Thomas Ince appeared as a late substitute in Ferreiras, Portugal.

• Biton spent a week on trial at Manchester City FC in summer 2012.

Israel news
• The team had free time the morning after Saturday's 4-0 loss to Italy and underwent a very relaxed training session.

• Marwan Kabha is still out and will miss the game against England with an abdominal injury. Israel Zaguri and Eliazer Dasa both have minor knocks but are expected to be available.

• The players went out for a meal on Sunday evening to reflect on their time together as a squad.

• Luzon has kept to his promise not to read any of the local press following the Italy defeat.

England news
• Part of Pearce's coaching team in Israel, former Manchester United FC, Everton FC and England player Phil Neville announced his retirement on Sunday. Neville clocked up over 500 Premier League games and won 59 caps for his country.

• England players Delfouneso, Declan Rudd, Marvin Sordell and Jason Steele joined the Football Association (FA) chairman David Bernstein at an event to promote 'Football For All' initiatives in Israel promoting social cohesion and racial tolerance. The FA has supported the anti-racism work of the Israel Football Association (IFA) since 2003.

• Also present at Maccabi Netanya FC's training ground were IFA dignitaries and Israel players. The England players spent time on the pitch with children from a cluster of community programmes.

Last updated: 11/06/13 15.39CET