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Luzon: Jerusalem perfect for Israel v England

Guy Luzon said "if he could choose a place to finish" it would be at the Teddy Stadium as his Israel side play England trying to pull off the greatest of feats to stay in the U21 finals.

Jerusalem's Teddy Stadium is an apt place for Israel's last Group A game to take place, says Luzon
Jerusalem's Teddy Stadium is an apt place for Israel's last Group A game to take place, says Luzon ©Sportsfile

As Guy Luzon looked forward to potentially his last game as Israel Under-21 coach, he reflected on the tournament and his three years in charge of the team.

Israel need to beat England, hope Norway lose to Italy, and have a six-goal swing to overtake Tor Ole Skullerud's side. Luzon will depart to lead R. Standard de Liège after the tournament and said his three years in charge had been "great fun". If Israel are on the brink, England are definitely out, and Stuart Pearce, already with one eye on the 2015 qualifying campaign, is desperate to bow out of 2013 on a high.

Guy Luzon, Israel coach
A game against England is never easy – it makes no difference that they don't have a chance of going through. They have players from the Premier League and it makes me laugh to hear the word 'easy' when thinking about England.

Yes, this will probably be my last match as the Under-21 coach. It makes me sad just to think about it. I started out three years ago and it has been great fun. I was honoured to coach these guys. Coaches love their players most after they win but I enjoyed my squad the most after I saw them in the dressing room following the 4-0 loss against Italy. If I could choose a place to finish it would be here in Jerusalem. Just coming here and seeing this city makes me feel a lot better.

I knew from the beginning that we had three teams that are equal –  England, Italy and Norway. One of them had to go and in this case it was England. We were very realistic about our chances of going through and I'm certainly not one to build expectations so high.

Matchday one result
Israel 2-2 Norway
(Biton 16pen, Turgeman 71; Pedersen 24, Singh 90+1)

Matchday two result
Italy 4-0 Israel (Saponara 18, Gabbiadini 42 53, Florenzi 71)
Kleyman; Dasa (Verta 46), Vahaba, Ben Harush, Twatha; Krieff, Biton; Zaguri, Kalibat (Azam 83), Golasa; Turgeman (Barouch 67).

• Man of the match: Marco Verratti

Team news
Eyal Golasa is suspended after his red card against Italy, while Munas Dabbur – who missed the defeat at Bloomfield – is touch and go, but should be OK to start depending on how he comes through training. Israel Zaguri has also been hampered by a knock but should be in the starting XI.

Stuart Pearce, England manager
This is our last game of this tournament and it's important that we go out with a victory – we don't want to finish bottom of the group. The players are very disappointed by the results of the first two games but they've kept focused, the training has been very good and the application has been fantastic. They're desperate to put in a performance.

Defeats hurt me, because I'm representing my country. The players are the ones that have to give a performance and I get the feeling that they're primed and ready to do so. No country wants to exit having not won a game. Israel are a high-energy team, very compact in two banks of four, pretty rigid, but they attack with real energy and they're very, very dangerous on the counter.

UEFA can be very proud of the Under-21 tournament. There have been some fantastic young players. 'Stars of the future' is the tournament slogan and there have certainly been real big stars that have performed over the four tournaments I've been involved in. Looking at the standard of the Spanish, the Dutch and the Italians, there is some talent at this tournament – we'll find out the magnitude over the next two to three years.

Matchday one result
England 0-1 Italy
(Insigne 79)

Matchday two result
England 1-3 Norway (Dawson 57pen; Semb Berge 15, Berget 34, Eikrem 52)
Butland; Smith, Caulker, Dawson (Wisdom 85), Rose; Chalobah, Lowe (Wickham 46); Ince, Henderson, Redmond (Shelvey 67); Zaha.

• Man of the match: Stefan Strandberg

Team news
Henri Lansbury is the only absentee, sitting out his third game in Israel because of a groin strain, though at 22 he may not have started even if fit as Pearce says he will "select a team with a view to the next campaign".

Match fact
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.

Did you know?
Nir Biton spent a week on trial at Manchester City FC in summer 2012.

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