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Latvia face challenge of resurgent Israel

Latvia are looking to rein in a revived Israel in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group F but may find it tricky against opponents who beat them 2-1 in Tel Aviv in March.

Latvia's Kaspars Gorkšs comes under pressure from Israel's Omar Damari during the countries' March encounter in Tel Aviv
Latvia's Kaspars Gorkšs comes under pressure from Israel's Omar Damari during the countries' March encounter in Tel Aviv ©Getty Images

Latvia will have to rein in a revived Israel in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group F as they bid to improve on their 2-1 loss away to the same opponents on 26 March.

• Luis Fernandez's charges enjoyed the lion's share of the chances against Latvia but still needed Beram Kayal's 81st-minute header to seal the points, after Kaspars Gorkšs had cancelled out Elyaniv Barda's early opener.

• Israel beat Georgia 1-0 three days later to move up to third in Group F, within a point of leaders Greece.

• Latvia have yet to win at home in Group F, recording a draw and a defeat in their two games to date. Israel's away record in the section is identical: P2 W0 D1 L1.

• The teams have met on five previous occasions, with Latvia's record in those matches reading W1 D1 L3 (W0 D1 L1 at home).

• They first met in a friendly game in Riga on 17 May 1998 which Israel won 5-1. A further friendly in Jerusalem on 24 February 1999 ended in a 2-0 win for the hosts.

• Latvia got the better of their encounters in 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying. On 15 October 2008, they drew 1-1 in Riga, Vladimirs Kolesņičenko cancelling out Yossi Benayoun's opener.

• Latvia then pulled off something of a surprise in the return fixture, Gorkšs scoring the only goal to earn them a 1-0 victory in Tel Aviv on 5 September 2009. That strike ended Israel's 15-year unbeaten home run in World Cup qualifiers.