Eli Gutman will lead Israel in their qualifying campaign for the 2014 FIFA World Cup after being unveiled as national team coach on a two-year deal.
The 53-year-old has replaced Luiz Fernández, whose contract with the Israel Football Association (IFA) was not renewed after his failure to qualify for UEFA EURO 2012.
Gutman's most recent job was with Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC, whom he left in May having won the league and cup double in 2009/10 and guided them into the UEFA Champions League group stage last season.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Gutman said: "
I am fulfilling a dream, although it is only half a dream − the other half would be to complete qualification for the World Cup. Of course, that is a huge goal, but if we can achieve smaller goals along the way then maybe that will be possible."
IFA chairman Avi Luzon described Gutman as a "professional with an incredible tactical ability", adding: "From the bottom of my heart I believe that Eli will know how to drum faith into the players and lead us to success."
Gutman's first assignment is a friendly against UEFA EURO 2012 co-hosts Ukraine on 29 February. Israel, whose only previous World Cup finals appearance was in 1970, face Portugal, Russia, Northern Ireland, Azerbaijan and Luxembourg in qualifying for the 2014 edition in Brazil.
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