Northern Ireland v Israel

Official Digital Matchday programme of Northern Ireland v Israel, Tuesday 11th September 2018, UEFA Nations League, at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park.


International Challenge Match National Football Stadium At Windsor Park Tuesday 11 September 2018 Kick-off 19:45

























Official Publication by Irish Football Association National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, Donegall Avenue, Belfast, BT12 6LW Editor Nigel Tilson Director of Communications Neil Brittain Design and Print Minprint Ltd, 401 Castlereagh Road, Belfast, Co Down, BT5 6QP Tel: 028 9070 5205

Irish Football Association President David Martin Chief Executive Patrick Nelson Advertising Irish Football Association Pictures Press Eye

Please note that the views in this programme do not necessarily reflect those of the Irish Football Association.



Andi Herzog Head Coach

Michael O’Neill Manager

Michael McGovern Norwich City Trevor Carson Motherwell Bailey Peacock-Farrell Leeds United Aaron Hughes Heart of Midlothian Gareth McAuley Glasgow Rangers Jonathan Evans Leicester City Craig Cathcart Watford Conor McLaughlin Millwall Patrick McNair Middlesbrough Michael Smith Heart of Midlothian Jamal Lewis Norwich City Steven Davis Southampton Niall McGinn Aberdeen Oliver Norwood Sheffield United* Corry Evans Blackburn Rovers Shane Ferguson Millwall Stuart Dallas Leeds United George Saville Middlesbrough** Jordan Jones Kilmarnock Gavin Whyte Oxford United Kyle Lafferty Glasgow Rangers Josh Magennis Bolton Wanderers Jamie Ward Charlton Athletic*** Conor Washington Sheffield United

Ariel Harush Hapoel Be’er Sheva Guy Haimov Maccabi Haifa Danny Amos Maccabi Netanya Eitan Tibi Maccabi Tel Aviv Sheran Yeini Maccabi Tel Aviv Taleb Tawatha Eintracht Frankfurt Eli Dasa Maccabi Tel Aviv Ben Bitton Hapoel Be’er Sheva Samuel Scheimann Hapoel Be’er Sheva

Loai Taha Hapoel Be’er Sheva Ayid Habshi Maccabi Haifa Nisso Kapiloto Hapoel Haifa Bibras Natkho Olympiacos Eran Zahavi Guangzhou R&F

Beram Kayal Brighton & Hove Albion Dan Einbinder Hapoel Be’er Sheva

Dor Peretz Maccabi Tel Aviv Dor Micha Maccabi Tel Aviv Dan Glazer Maccabi Tel Aviv

Maxim Plakushchenko Hapoel Haifa Tomer Hemed Queens Park Rangers Moanes Dabour Red Bull Salzburg Alon Turgeman Austria Wien Dia Saba Maccabi Netanya Manor Solomon Maccabi Petah Tikva

Liam Boyce Burton Albion Will Grigg Wigan Athletic *on loan from Brighton and Hove Albion **on loan from Millwall ***on loan from Nottingham Forest

Green and White

Blue and White

Referee Assistant Referee 1 Assistant Referee 2 Fourth Official MATCH OFFICIALS

Bas Nijhuis NED Rob van de Ven NED Joost van Zuilen NED Dennis Higler NED



On behalf of the Irish Football Association it gives me great pleasure to welcome the officials, players and supporters of Israel to the National Football Stadium in our capital city of Belfast for this International Challenge Match.

Both countries have commenced their campaigns in the UEFA Nations League, with Northern Ireland somehow losing to Bosnia & Herzegovina by two goals to one at home in League B Group 3 on Saturday despite dominating the game, while Israel travelled to Albania in League C the night before and lost 1-0. It was not the ideal start for us, or for Israel, but I am confident we will bounce back quickly. The next series of games will take place in mid- October and both of Northern Ireland’s fixtures are away from home, first against Austria and then Bosnia & Herzegovina over the same weekend. There have been nine internationals to date between Northern Ireland and Israel, the first one being on 10 September 1968. It was the first of five friendly fixtures and four FIFA World Cup qualifiers played between the countries over the ensuing 50 years.

The stand-out one for Northern Ireland supporters is the first occasion Israel came to Belfast in November 1981 when Gerry Armstrong scored a 27th minute winner as the country qualified for Mundial ‘82 in front of 40,000 people. This evening’s match affords both managers the opportunity to further their plans to qualify for Euro 2020 whether through the Nations League or directly from the Euro qualifying groups, the draw for which will take place in Dublin on 2 December. The support for our team continues to be magnificent and we all look forward to more of the same tonight. I hope that you enjoy another exciting game and have a safe journey home. David J Martin President Irish Football Association




There is a school of thought which suggests that international friendly matches are worthless and of poor quality. As a national manager I am sure you would not expect me to subscribe to that view, and you would be correct.

To a national manager these non-competitive games are essential. Not only do they provide the opportunity to blood new players and try new formations but also to maintain momentum and to build on previous successes, or if things have not been going so well to pick up the pieces and perhaps rebuild confidence. I don’t think we are quite in confidence building territory following Saturday’s game against Bosnia and Herzegovina. I thought the team performed superbly, however we just did not get the rub of the green. Hopefully tonight our efforts will be rewarded. With the very congested international calendar there are very few opportunities for such games and both tonight and our November fixture will assist me in the preparation of teams for the competitive games. You are never quite sure how players will perform in the white hot arena of international football until they actually experience it and we need an experienced and well prepared squad to see us through the challenges ahead. Our friendlies in South America in the summer of 2014 against Uruguay and Chile laid the foundations for our successful Euro 2016 qualification campaign. And I am optimistic that the games played this past summer in Panama and Costa Rica, with all their associated challenges, will prove invaluable as we compete in the UEFA Nations League against Bosnia and Herzegovina and Austria and the forthcoming Euro qualification matches, the draw for which will take place in Dublin in December.

There is an added spice to tonight’s game against Israel and November’s match against the Republic in that they are UEFA sanctioned and are part of the UEFA week of international football and also are part of the UEFA central television contract. The last time Israel played in Belfast was in the qualification matches for the 2014 World Cup in March 2013 when they inflicted a 2-0 defeat on us. However today we are a very different proposition and I know that the players and my backroom staff are as committed as I am in maintaining our proud record here in Belfast. We pride ourselves in our competitiveness and being difficult to beat, but especially in front of our own fans in the National Stadium we are formidable and, I hope, quite scary opponents. Complacency is not part of my make-up and under their new coach (Andreas Herzog, whom I played against when he was an Austrian international) I know that Israel will be trying to kick-start their campaigns, and teams with new coaches have lots to prove and are therefore challenging to face. We will be prepared for the game and I hope it will assist us in our future planning and preparation. And I know that you will be getting behind the team as usual. Enjoy the match and thanks for your continued support. Michael O’Neill Northern Ireland Manager



Welcome to the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park once again. Two home games in four days is very unusual at international level.

Mind you, it’s good to be able to quickly get back on the horse after Saturday’s UEFA Nations League opener against Bosnia and Herzegovina. Not often will we ever dominate a game so much and have nothing to show for it when the final whistle blows. The Northern Ireland team performance on Saturday was as good as anyone can remember and yet the visitors disappeared back to Sarajevo with the points. Such is life in sport sometimes... However, the sun came up this morning again on another new day, and we welcome Israel to Belfast this evening for an international friendly match. For the past few years friendlies have been optional for national teams but now we have all agreed with UEFA that we will play friendly games on all available international dates when there is no competitive fixture. Being in a three team group in UEFA Nations League B has meant that we had two friendly dates available between now and the end of the year, so Israel will visit us this evening and we will make the short trip to Dublin in November to warm up for our final Nations League fixture against Austria. I know it doesn’t seem like it yet as we begin to search in the wardrobe for our warmer clothes but it is only 15 weeks today until Christmas. If

you haven’t got your work Christmas party sorted yet then look no further. We are on Facebook under ‘NFS at Windsor Park Events’ and we will be delighted to make your party one to remember. I have mentioned our Education and Heritage Centre before but make no apology in doing so again. We are now up to #3 on ‘things to do in Belfast’ according to TripAdvisor, which is some achievement. For the Bosnia game we ran a very successful ‘Legends’ event where almost 100 guests were entertained by the great Tommy Wright, so look out for similar future events. And if you’re a campaign card holder you can now get a free visit to the centre courtesy of the Galgorm Resort and Spa, one of our newest business partners. So don’t miss out! Finally, thank you for coming to the stadium again this evening and being part of the GAWA. Everyone in the squad values the fantastic atmosphere created here at home and let’s hope we get back to winning ways against Israel.

Enjoy the match! Patrick Nelson Chief Executive Irish Football Association


NORTHERN IRELAND 1 Grigg (90'+3) BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA 2 Duljevic (36'), Saric (64')

UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE 08.09.2018 National Football Stadium At Windsor Park


















1 Peacock-Farrell 2 McLaughlin 20 Cathcart 5 Evans J

Substitutes 12 Sehic 7 Besic 15 Sunjic 17 Zukanovic 2 Civic 21 Saric 13 Cimirot 10 Pjanic 8 Visca 11 Dzeko 9 Duljevic 1 Kjosevski 5 Nastic 14 Prcic 16 Bajic 18 Kodro 19 Krunic 20 Zakaric 22 Piric 23 Milosevic

3 Lewis 8 Davis 16 Norwood 6 Saville 7 McGinn 10 Lafferty 14 Dallas


4 Smith 9 Washington 11 Ferguson 12 Carson 13 Evans C 15 Jones 17 McNair 18 Boyce 19 Ward 21 Whyte 22 Grigg 23 McGovern



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Norwich City


Leeds United

Heart of Midlothian

Age Caps Goals 34 28 0

Age Caps Goals 30 3 0

Age Caps Goals 21 2 0

Age Caps Goals 38 112 1









Glasgow Rangers

Leicester City



Age Caps Goals 38 79 9

Age Caps Goals 30 71 2

Age Caps Goals 29 37 2

Age Caps Goals 27 34 1












Heart of Midlothian Age Caps Goals 30 1 0



Norwich City

Age Caps Goals 23 20 0

Age Caps Goals 20 2 0

Age Caps Goals 33 102 10

Age Caps Goals 31 54 3










Sheffield United*

Blackburn Rovers


Leeds United

Age Caps Goals 27 54 0

Age Caps Goals 28 47 1

Age Caps Goals 27 35 1

Age Caps Goals 27 31 2

*on loan from Brighton & Hove Albion











Oxford United

Glasgow Rangers

Age Caps Goals 25 6 0

Age Caps Goals 23 2 0

Age Caps Goals 22 0 0

Age Caps Goals 30 68 20

**on loan from Millwall



Sheffield United Age Caps Goals 26 17 3 CONOR WASHINGTON FORWARD Club







Bolton Wanderers

Charlton Athletic*** Age Caps Goals 32 34 4

Burton Albion

Wigan Athletic

Age Caps Goals 28 38 4

Age Caps Goals 27 14 1

Age Caps Goals 27 11 2

*** on loan from Nottingham Forest



Words Darren Fullerton Daily Mirror

JONES IS KEEN TO REPAY THE MANAGER’S FAITH IN HIM Jordan Jones is delighted Michael O’Neill has given him license to play with style and swagger in a Northern Ireland shirt.

“On a personal note it’s good for a manager to show a lot of faith in you, which I think he has and is continuing to do, so I just want to prove him right.” Jones has realised in a short space of time how O’Neill operates and how the former Newcastle United midfielder has helped revive his country’s fortunes. The Killie wideman isn’t surprised the likes of skipper Steven Davis and Leicester City defender Jonny Evans rate the 49-year-old so highly. “In the short time I’ve spent with Michael I just think he’s really positive,” said Jones. “The main thing is every player knows their job and how the team works.

The Kilmarnock winger has already showcased his pace and ability to bamboozle defenders with a drop of the shoulder in his early outings in a green shirt. And the 23-year-old, who made his debut against Switzerland in Basel 10 months ago, is thankful he has a national manager who allows him to play “off the cuff”. “Michael wants me to play as I would for my club - freely with no added pressure,” said Jones. “He has told me not to change my game. “As a forward player once you get in certain areas (you’re) free to play off the cuff, which is what you want to hear.




“It’s something I had to get used to very quickly because the level of games I was actually involved in and my first few call-ups were massive games. “You needed to pay extra attention to realise how the team works, but he has us well drilled and everyone knows their jobs. “I can only say positive things about Michael, so I want to try and put in as many positive performances as I can when I’m chosen to play. “I want to kick on with Northern Ireland and try and get as many minutes as I can on the pitch to show what I can do.” Middlesbrough-born Jones, who qualifies for Northern Ireland through his dad Paul, has “mixed emotions” when recalling his debut in last year’s ill-fated World Cup second leg play-off against Switzerland. He won his first cap from the bench in the scoreless draw in Basel, a result that saw the Swiss qualify for Russia 1-0 on aggregate thanks to an awful penalty decision in Belfast in the first leg. The memory of team-mates in tears in the changing room is seared in his mind, although he hopes the experience is a motivation for O’Neill’s men looking forward. He explained: “Obviously the experience of my debut in Switzerland was mixed. I managed to get on the pitch, which was massive for me, but we missed out on the World Cup. “I’ve been in a lot of dressing rooms as a player and the one after the Switzerland game in Basel, well, we were all absolutely devastated. “We were so close to the World Cup and the fact we didn’t make it because of a poor refereeing decision made it even worse.” “I do think that experience will make us stronger,” he added. “I know we’ll do everything not to feel that way again as we try to reach the Euro 2020 finals.”


Position Midfielder Date Of Birth 24.10.1994 Place Of Birth Middlesbrough


Height 175cm Weight 64kg




CLUBS Middlesbrough


Hartlepool United (loan) Cambridge United (loan)






Caps 2 Goals 0

v Switzerland (A) Drew 0-0

Northern Ireland U19



Words Marshall Gillespie

Prior to Saturday’s match with Bosnia & Herzegovina Michael O’Neill had used a total of 60 players in his 56 matches in charge. There are still six players in this evening’s squad who were in the manager’s very first starting 11 versus Norway on 29 February 2012. They are Gareth McAuley, Aaron Hughes, Jonny and Corry Evans, Steven Davis and Shane Ferguson.

Northern Ireland have won five of their last six friendly encounters at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park. Since November 2015 they have beaten Latvia (1-0), Slovenia (1-0), Belarus (3-0), New Zealand (1-0) and South Korea (2-1). The only blip was a 3-0 defeat to Croatia in November 2016.

This evening’s encounter with Israel will be Northern Ireland’s 116th friendly international challenge match. Their full record to date is: P W D L F A Home 54 17 15 22 59 82 Away 53 10 17 26 39 93 Neutral 8 0 1 7 3 17 Total 115 27 33 55 101 192

This friendly will be the 10th meeting between Northern Ireland and Israel and the fifth occasion the two countries have played each other in Belfast. Of the previous nine encounters Northern Ireland hold the upper hand with three wins, all in Belfast. Israel’s only success was a 2-0 victory the last time they made the trip to Northern Ireland in March 2013 for a World Cup Qualifer.

When Conor and Ryan McLaughlin were used as substitutes in the 3-0 defeat to Costa Rica back in June they joined Corry and Jonny Evans on the pitch, which meant for the first time ever two sets of brothers played together in a full international match for Northern Ireland.

Our full record against them is: 1968 – Friendly (A) – won 3-2 1976 – Friendly (A) – drew 1-1 1980 – WCQ (A) – drew 0-0 1981 – WCQ (H) – won 1-0 1984 – Friendly (H) – won 3-0 1987 – Friendly (A) – drew 1-1 2009 – Friendly (H) – drew 1-1 2013 – WCQ (H) – lost 0-2 2013 – WCQ (A) – drew 1-1


When Northern Ireland under-21s played their Israeli counterparts in a friendly match in February 2006 midfielder Sammy Clingan scored after just 14 seconds. That feat was bettered in 2016 when senior women’s international Simone Magill netted after just 11 seconds of their 4-0 victory over Georgia.

Tonight will be Northern Ireland’s

245th full international match at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park. The first ever senior international to take place here was on 19 March 1910 when a 54th minute Fred Thompson goal gave the hosts a 1-0 victory over Scotland.

Michael O’Neill has only lost two of his eight friendlies in Belfast. The first was in February 2012 (his first match in charge) when Norway won 3-0 and the last occasion was in November 2016 when Croatia won by the same margin. His full record in friendlies reads: P W D L F A Home 8 5 1 2 11 10 Away 11 0 5 6 1 15 Neutral 1 0 1 0 1 1 Total 20 5 7 8 13 26

Northern Ireland have previously played three international matches on 11 September. The first was in 1985 when Billy Bingham’s side travelled to Izmir for a World Cup qualifier with Turkey which ended in a scoreless draw. Six years later they defeated the Faroe Islands 5-0 in a European Championship encounter in Landskrona thanks to a Colin Clarke hat-trick. The last 11 September match came in 2012 when Michael O’Neill’s charges drew 1-1 at home to Luxembourg in a World Cup qualifier in Belfast. Dean Shiels got the goal that night.

Louis James Bookman won four international caps for Ireland between 1914 and 1921. Not only was he a talented footballer he was also an accomplished cricketer, playing on 14 occasions for Ireland. A left- handed batsman and slow left arm bowler, he scored 573 runs for Ireland (including four half centuries) and took six wickets.




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‘ISRAEL ARE ALWAYS CAPABLE OF DOING GOOD THINGS’ Former Israel international Ronny Rosenthal is hoping for a brighter future for the Blue and Whites, who haven’t graced a major tournament since the World Cup in 1970.

Ronny Rosenthal played for Spurs, Liverpool and Watford

also at White Hart Lane while Northern Ireland legend Pat Jennings was the club’s goalkeeping coach. “I played in the same team as Gerard McMahon for a number of seasons before that. He was a fantastic young player, and technically very good.” Having become a full member of UEFA back in 1994, Israel first entered into the qualifying phase for the European Championships that same year but failed to make UEFA Euro 1996. They are still yet to reach the finals of the competition after six qualification campaigns, while they last graced the World Cup back in 1970. “The talent is there (in the current Israeli national team),” insisted Rosenthal, who has worked as a football consultant since retiring from playing in 1999 and also represents his son Dean’s agency Interfoot. “On their day Israel are always capable of doing good things but they have lacked the consistency to secure one of the top two spots in a qualifying group. I have read a lot of things about (new manager) Andi Herzog and hopefully he can help steer the team in the right direction. “But certainly Northern Ireland have enjoyed a better recent history than Israel, having done so well to make it to Euro 2016 for example.” Words Andy Greeves

Shortly after celebrating his 21st birthday, Rosenthal made his international debut for Israel as a substitute in a 2-0 victory over Luxembourg on December 19, 1984. The Haifa-born forward soon became a regular in the Blue and Whites squad, winning 60 caps and scoring eleven goals through until 1997. “One of the best matches I was involved in for Israel was a 3-2 win over France in Paris in a World Cup qualifier (October 13, 1993),” explained Rosenthal, who represented club sides such as Maccabi Haifa, Club Brugge, Standard Liege, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Watford during his career. “We never got to the World Cup, but we came very close to reaching Italia ’90. We faced Colombia in a play-off match to decide who would go to the tournament. We lost 1-0 away in the first leg (October 15, 1989). In the second leg (October 30, 1989) I had one of my best matches in an Israel shirt, creating chance after chance, but we just couldn’t score the goals we needed as the match finished 0-0.” Rosenthal played against 28 different nations at international level during his career, including England, Scotland and Wales but never Northern Ireland. He was team-mates with a number of players who have worn the famous green shirt though, such as Gerry McMahon and Paul McVeigh at Spurs. “Paul McVeigh got into the first team in my last season at Spurs,” explained Rosenthal, who was



Andy Greeves takes a closer look at Israel ahead of this evening’s international friendly. LOWDOWN This game against Northern Ireland will be new manager Andi Herzog’s first in charge of Israel. And the Blue and Whites’ Austrian boss will be without a number of key players, with Nir Bitton, Tal Ben Haim II and Almog Cohen among those to have suffered with injuries in recent months. However, there is the possibility of exciting young forward Manor Solomon making his senior Israel debut against Michael O’Neill’s side. The 19-year-old has impressed for his club Maccabi Petah Tikva and was linked with moves to top European sides such as Benfica, Liverpool and Juventus over the summer. Following the cancellation of Israel’s friendly with Argentina in Jerusalem in June, the Blue and Whites haven’t played since a 2-1 home defeat to Romania back in March.

TACTICS Under previous manager Elisha Levy, and caretaker boss Alon Hazan, Israel usually lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. The Blue and Whites’ full-backs have played a key role in the side’s attacks in this system with two holding midfielders, such as Bibras Natkho and Beram Kayal, giving the licence for the likes of Eli Dasa and Omri Ben Harush to get forward. Moanes Dabour is a man in form, having helped his club side Red Bull Salzburg reach the UEFA Europa League semi-final in 2017- 18. While the 26-year-old usually plays in the number nine role for Salzburg, he is also capable of playing in wide attacking areas or as a number ten in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

STRENGTHS Israel’s greatest strengths lie in forward areas. Brighton & Hove Albion’s Tomer Hemed (now on loan at QPR) is a prolific goalscorer at international level, with 16 goals in 32 international appearances. The aforementioned Solomon and Dabour are able to operate anywhere across the front line and pose a genuine attacking threat . POSSIBLE LINE-UP Goalkeeper - Ariel Harush; defenders - Eli Dasa, Sheran Yeini, Eitan Tibi, Taleb Tawatha; midfielders - Bibras Natkho, Beram Kayal, Eran Zahavi; forwards - Manor Solomon, Moanes Dabour, Tomer Hemed.

Many thanks to journalist Raphael Geller for his assistance in the writing of this article.

MEMORIES OF THE DAY FOOTBALL CAME HOME TO NORTHERN IRELAND It’s funny how these things occur. Not long ago we were having a debate in the office about our favourite Northern Ireland matches – and it was quite a discussion.

Nor was it the best goal, but every winning goal is priceless, and the match also marked the introduction to the Belfast crowd of a long and gangly blonde- haired centre forward fromBury who led the illustrious Yugoslavs a merry dance: Derek Spence. This all came back to me early last month. There I was, minding my own business, just ambling (as you do) along the promenade in Newcastle, enjoying the sea air, watching the seagulls dive into the sea and wondering if I should get another ice cream and when the rain comes where I could find shelter, when I notice a familiar face in the crowd coming towards me. Dapper and immaculate, just as I remembered him (albeit as the manager), then he spotted me, and we were drawn inexorably towards each other. It was the aforementioned Bryan Hamilton ( pictured ), back in Northern Ireland for a family wedding. I had to say to him that his name had arisen in conversation not long before. “Nice to be remembered,” he said.  Like it or not, international football has a tendency to define us. We are proud of our wee country and our wee team. We love all the players, follow their clubs and worry when they get injured or suffer loss of form. We watch with interest on transfer deadline day to see if any of our heroes will be moving on to other clubs (bigger or better or maybe not). We cannot imagine how painful not being able to play at home would be, so we should enjoy and savour every match - win, lose or draw. And definitely keep your eyes open when contemplating your favourite ice cream flavour as you never knowwhich of your heroes (current or past) might be strolling by! Words William Campbell

I was regaling (I think that’s just a posh word for boring) my audience with tales of Billy Bingham and the exploits of our team in 1982 and 1986. I particularly focused on how, way back in 1975, I had sneaked out of school early (probably not strictly true as I had asked permission) and gone with my brother to watch the return of Northern Ireland and international football to Belfast. The match against Yugoslavia came after a four-year hiatus because of the Troubles and ‘home’ matches were played in Hull, Coventry, Sheffield, Liverpool, Glasgow and London during that time. Connection with the fans was largely lost and the poorly attended and mostly irrelevant matches trundled on, and if the circumstances had not been halted the participation of the Northern Ireland team in international football could have ended. However, IFA chiefs Harry Cavan and Billy Drennan were not prepared to let this happen and after representations to government and police, seeking support and reassurances, in April 1975 they persuaded (it probably helped that Cavan was the FIFA Vice-President at the time) the Yugoslavs to come to Belfast. Its significance as one of the most important matches I have attended cannot be underestimated. The match kicked off at 5pm to ensure fans were home at a decent hour as the Troubles continued to rage, but without 1975 we would not have enjoyed the golden era of Billy Bingham, could not have been thrilled by the goals of David Healy and certainly would have been watching the 2016 Euro finals on the television. It was not the best match against Yugoslavia but it was won (with a scrappy Bryan Hamilton goal) and the atmosphere of euphoria and relief carried the team forward to many more successes.





Words Liam Blackburn

ISRAEL THE COACH The Israel national team appointed Austrian Andreas Herzog last month, a man they know all too well from his playing days.

the box. Herzog, his country’s captain that night, smashed the ball low into the net to break Israeli hearts and ensure Austria finished as the group’s runners-up instead. Eli Ohana, the chairman of the committee in charge of finding a new boss for Israel, explained they had been inspired by one of the Home Nations’ managers when selecting Herzog. “Herzog has little experience as a senior coach but Gareth Southgate did not have much experience either and look what he has accomplished,” Ohana said in The Jerusalem Post. » » Austria’s most capped player, Herzog scored 26 times in 103 internationals for his country. » » Played in two World Cups for Austria - in 1990 and 1998 - and scored a penalty against Italy in the tournament 20 years ago. » » Featured for Rapid Wien, Werder

He won league titles with Rapid Wien (Vienna) and Werder Bremen and spent the 1995-96 season playing for German giants Bayern Munich. Like Northern Ireland trio Pat Jennings, Aaron Hughes and Steven Davis, Herzog is also an international centurion having appeared in a record 103 games for Austria. He would end his playing career after a season with MLS club Los Angeles Galaxy in 2004, where he provided seven assists and scored five times, before he turned to coaching. Initially Austria’s caretaker coach, Herzog, who turns 50 this week, then worked as his country’s assistant and Under-21s boss prior to joining United States manager Jurgen Klinsmann’s coaching staff in 2011. Herzog was also in charge of the US Under-23s team when they tried, unsuccessfully, to qualify for the Olympics two years ago, but he had been without work until the Israel Football Association offered him a route back recently. He was already familiar to Israeli fans, though their memories are not fond ones as it was Herzog’s goal for Austria in 2001 that denied Israel a victory that might have seen them reach the 2002 World Cup. Israel were leading in the final qualifier and were just minutes from reaching a play-off to get to Asia when they conceded a free-kick just outside

Bremen, Bayern Munich and Los Angeles Galaxy across an 18-year playing career. » » Has held coaching posts in Austria and the United States but this job is Herzog’s first senior managerial role.



Words Liam Blackburn


ARIEL HARUSH Hapoel Be’er Sheva Age 30 Caps 11 Goals 0

GUY HAIMOV Maccabi Haifa Age 32 Caps 1 Goals 0

DANNY AMOS Maccabi Netanya Age 31 Caps 0 Goals 0

Moved to Hapoel Be’er Sheva ahead of this season after a year outside of the domestic league with Cypriot club Anorthosis. Israel used four goalkeepers during the World Cup 2018 qualifiers and Harush appeared in only three games. David Goresh, who is behind Harush in his club’s pecking order, made five appearances.

Haimov has not won a cap for Israel since his debut in 2011, when he came on for the second half in a Euro 2012 qualifier. Israel were 1-0 up against Croatia at the time but would lose 3-1. The 32-year-old joined Maccabi Haifa having spent last season with Hapoel Be’er Sheva.

Born in South Africa, Amos has spent his entire career in the Israeli Premier League. He has a connection with Northern Ireland too as his brother, Nathan, spent many years playing rugby union for Rainey Old Boys in Co Londonderry and he has represented his country at international level, too.


EITAN TIBI Maccabi Tel Aviv Age 30 Caps 35 Goals 1

SHERAN YEINI Maccabi Tel Aviv Age 31 Caps 18 Goals 0 Yeini’s two spells in Tel Aviv have come sandwiched between a stint in the Netherlands with Vitesse. An international debutant in 2013, the Tel Aviv-born defender made six starts for Israel in the Euro 2016 qualifiers but was restricted to only a solitary appearance during the following campaign for World Cup qualification.

TALEB TAWATHA Eintracht Frankfurt Age 26 Caps 9 Goals 0

A long-serving Maccabi Tel Aviv defender who had a short, unsuccessful stint in Belgium. Only four players featured in more games than Tibi in the World Cup 2018 qualifiers and he also had to serve a suspension having been sent off against Macedonia. He made his debut for Israel in 2012.

Tawatha is one of the fewmembers of this Israeli squad who plays his club football away from the domestic league, having joined German club Eintracht Frankfurt in 2016. The defender was an unused substitute in the German Cup final when Frankfurt defeated Bayern Munich in Berlin back in May.

ELI DASA Maccabi Tel Aviv Age 25 Caps 9 Goals 0

BEN BITTON Hapoel Be’er Sheva Age 27 Caps 4 Goals 0

SAMUEL SCHEIMANN Hapoel Be’er Sheva Age 30 Caps 1 Goals 0

Bitton has just started his sixth season with Hapoel Be’er Sheva, who he has helped to win a host of domestic trophies. Represented Israel at Under-19 level and made his debut for the senior side in a 2016 friendly against Croatia. Featured in just two World Cup 2018 qualifiers.

Has helped Maccabi Tel Aviv to three runner-up finishes in the Israeli Premier League since moving to the club in 2016. Dasa started half of Israeli’s World Cup 2018 qualifiers after featuring in three games in the preliminaries for Euro 2016. Yet to score an international goal in nine appearances.

A left-back who started his senior career away from Israel in the Netherlands, firstly with Den Bosch and then with Excelsior. Returned to Israel in 2012 and joined Maccabi Haifa initially. Scheimann has only been capped once for his country and that was back in 2012 against Czech Republic.

LOAI TAHA Hapoel Be’er Sheva Age 28 Caps 1 Goals 0

AYID HABSHI Maccabi Haifa Age 23 Caps 0 Goals 0

NISSO KAPILOTO Hapoel Haifa Age 28 Caps 0 Goals 0 Something of a journeyman defender having arrived at Maccabi Haifa after stops in Cyprus, Switzerland and with several other Israeli clubs. Kapiloto, yet to receive his first international cap, made 33 starts for Hapoel Haifa in 2017-18 and helped them to beat Beitar Jerusalem and win the State Cup final.

The third Hapoel Be’er Sheva defender in the squad, Taha made 29 starts in their title- winning campaign last season. He is another with limited experience of international football and his first minutes came in a 2-1 loss to Romania in March in what was Israel’s most recent game prior to this international break.

Habshi is one of two uncapped defenders in the squad who both play their club football at Maccabi Haifa. He spent the 2017-18 season on loan with Bnei Yehuda and he featured in both legs of a Europa League tie with Zenit Saint Petersburg that the Russian side would win 2-1 on aggregate.



BIBRAS NATKHO Olympiacos Age 30 Caps 50 Goals 1

ERAN ZAHAVI Guangzhou R&F Age 31 Caps 39 Goals 6

BERAM KAYAL Brighton & Hove Albion Age 30 Caps 33 Goals 1

Israel’s captain and the most capped player in this current squad. He has been playing abroad since 2010 having been employed by Rubin Kazan, PAOK, CSKA Moscow and Olympiacos. Once scored for Rubin against Michael O’Neill’s Shamrock Rovers in a 2011 Europa League game. Natkho has been a full Israel international since 2010.

Zahavi currently plays for Chinese Super League club Guangzhou R&F. Scored 35 goals in 36 games for Maccabi Haifa during the 2015-16 season and previously played for Palermo prior to Kyle Lafferty’s arrival. Made seven starts in the World Cup 2018 qualifiers and scored in the 3-0 victory over Albania.

One of two England-based players in the Israel squad, Kayal was a Celtic team- mate of Niall McGinn’s before he joined Brighton south of the border. Kayal made his international debut in 2008 but, due to injury, only played in one World Cup 2018 qualifier against Italy.

DAN EINBINDER Hapoel Be’er Sheva Age 29 Caps 7 Goals 1

DOR PERETZ Maccabi Tel Aviv Age 23 Caps 2 Goals 0

DOR MICHA Maccabi Tel Aviv Age 26 Caps 1 Goals 0

Einbinder had not received an international cap prior to the World Cup 2018 qualifiers but played in six games in that campaign and scored his first goal in the 3-0 win over Albania. Has played for three clubs in Israel in recent seasons - Maccabi Tel Aviv, Beitar Jerusalem and Hapoel Be’er Sheva.

Bar a loan spell with Hapoel Haifa, Peretz has spent his entire career with Maccabi Tel Aviv, winning a treble with them in 2014-15. Has not played for the senior Israel team since 2016 but was a regular with the Under- 21s and he made the squad for the game against Romania in March.

Micha is a long-time club colleague of Peretz’s at Maccabi Tel Aviv. He made 25 starts in the Israeli Premier League last season, scoring just once. Having represented his country at both Under-19 and Under-21 level, Micha won his first senior cap in March’s friendly with Romania.

DAN GLAZER Maccabi Tel Aviv Age 21 Caps 0 Goals 0

MAXIM PLAKUSHCHENKO Hapoel Haifa Age 22 Caps 0 Goals 0

The uncapped Plakushchenkowas a regular with the Under-21s in the Euro 2017 qualification campaign having previously featured at Under-19 level. Plakushchenkowas involved in both legs of Hapoel Haifa’s Europa League tie with Atalanta last year, which the Italians won 6-1 on aggregate to advance.

Glazer only made his Maccabi Tel Aviv debut this season after loan spells with Beitar Tel Aviv and Maccabi Netanya. He has not won a senior international cap but he has come through the ranks with Israel, featuring for the Under-17s, Under-19s and Under-21s in recent years.


TOMER HEMED Queens Park Rangers Age 31 Caps 32 Goals 16

MOANES DABOUR Red Bull Salzburg Age 26 Caps 7 Goals 1 Dabour had two campaignswhere hemanaged double figures in goalswith Swiss club Grasshopper and at Salzburg he scored 22 AustrianBundesliga goals as theywon the title last term. Hewas also instrumental in their run to the Europa League semi-finals, scoring seven times in 16 games and sowill be one towatch.

ALON TURGEMAN Austria Wien Age 27 Caps 1 Goals 0 Turgeman is another striker in Israel’s squad that plays his club football in Austria. He spent six years with Maccabi Haifa before last year joining Hapoel Haifa on loan. His 12 league goals with Hapoel and his first international appearance in March led to him earning a move to Vienna.

Hemed is onBrighton&Hove Albion’s books but joinedNorthern Irelandwinger Paul Smyth at QPRwhen hemoved to Loftus Road on loan lastmonth. He then scored on his debut in a 1-0 win overWigan. Prolific at international level, too, Hemed has scored nine goals across the previous twoWorldCup qualifying campaigns.

DIA SABA Maccabi Netanya Age 25 Caps 1 Goals 0

MANOR SOLOMON Maccabi Petah Tikva Age 19 Caps 0 Goals 0

Somewhat of a late developer, Saba was the Israeli Premier League’s top scorer last season, having found the net 24 times in his 34 appearances. He has won caps with Israel at Under-19 and Under-21 level and was one of those who made their senior bow against Romania.

Solomon is the only teenager in Israel’s squad but he has already been linked with European giants Juventus and Liverpool. He was an unused substitute in three World Cup 2018 qualifiers but a friendly at the National Stadium at Windsor Park could present him with a chance to impress.



Words Liam Blackburn

was in the last title-winning side that Liverpool had and scored 22 goals in 97 games for the club, and he would also play for Tottenham and Watford. » » Rosenthal, who won 60 caps, is one of four Israelis to have made over a century of Premier League appearances, the other three being ex-Manchester City, Celtic and West Ham midfielder Eyal Berkovic, Ben Haim and Benayoun. » » That quartet have all featured for Israel in European qualifiers and they have been playing regularly within the continent since 1991. Full UEFA membership would arrive in 1994, the year after Israel recorded a memorable 3-2 success over France. » » Israel finished the Euro 2000 qualifiers in second place in their group, behind Spain, but they missed out on a place in the finals due to an 8-0 aggregate loss in a play-off to Denmark across two legs. That is as close as Israel have come to qualifying for a Euros. » » Northern Ireland famously met Israel in their final World Cup 1982 qualifier. Gerry Armstrong scored the first half goal in front of 40,000 spectators to send Northern Ireland to the tournament in Spain. It is one of three Northern Ireland victories over the Israelis. Yet Israel have not lost any of their previous four encounters against Northern Ireland, whose last victory over them came in a 1984 friendly. » » Most of the current national squad play in the Israeli Premier League, with Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Maccabi Haifa and Maccabi Tel Aviv all well represented. » » In May Hapoel were crowned champions for the third successive season. A defeat to Tel Aviv in that month was the first they had suffered at home in the division since moving to Turner Stadium three seasons earlier.

» » Israel are returning to Belfast for the first time since 2013 as a transitional team with a new head coach and an inexperienced squad. » » Only three of the players who started that 2-0 victory in March five years ago are in Andreas Herzog’s group today, and the current squad features just five players with 20 or more caps. » » Of those who played eight or more World Cup 2018 qualifiers, only striker Tomer Hemed remains and ex-Chelsea pair Yossi Benayoun and Tal Ben Haim, the country’s two most capped players, are not part of Herzog’s first squad. » » Herzog will hope that the likes of exciting teenager Manor Solomon can come through and lead the next generation as they look to qualify for future European Championships and World Cups, having not graced either finals since 1970. » » Affiliated with FIFA since 1929, a team from the newly-created state of Israel toured the United States in 1948 shortly after the War of Independence. » » Between 1956 and 1974 Israel were part of the Asian Football Confederation and they won the AFC Asian Cup as hosts in 1964. It was through the Asian qualifying route that they progressed to the 1970 World Cup, which remains their lone appearance at the global tournament. » » At the competition in Mexico, Israel were in a difficult group featuring Uruguay, Sweden and Italy. And the Israelis did not disgrace themselves, drawing with both Sweden and Italy after losing the opening game 2-0 to Uruguay. » » Mordechai Spiegler, a former Paris Saint- Germain forward, remains the only man to have scored a World Cup goal for Israel and he is still the country’s all-time leading scorer. » » In more recent times a number of Israel’s best footballers have been in England for part of their club careers. Ronnie Rosenthal, born in Haifa,



Centurions: Julie Nelson and Steven Davis

The Irish FA has been marking the achievements of Northern Ireland’s latest centurions.

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland’s first ever female centurion is the President’s special guest at tonight’s game against Israel. Julie Nelson, who reached the landmark figure in last week’s Women’s World Cup qualifier defeat to Slovakia, has already received a medal and cap from UEFA to mark the occasion and a special Irish FA cap will be presented to her this evening. Steven and Julie are only the third and fourth players respectively to reach a century of caps for Northern Ireland after Pat Jennings (119) and Aaron Hughes (112), who unfortunately had to drop out of the squad for the games against the Bosnians and Israel due to a calf injury Words Nigel Tilson

Senior men’s team captain Steven Davis reached the landmark of 100 caps for his country during the first leg of the World Cup play-off against Switzerland in Belfast last November. He played in the second leg of the play-off against Switzerland in Basel to make it 101 appearances but he missed the South Korea friendly in March and the two games in Central America back in the summer due to injury. That meant the first opportunity to present him with a special Irish FA cap to mark his 100th appearance came on Saturday when the memento was handed over by Irish FA President David Martin before the UEFA Nations League encounter with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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We may not be Brazil, and our stadiummay not be the Maracana, but when it comes to attracting tourists the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park has well and truly set out its stall. EVENOUR STADIUM PUNCHES ABOVE ITS WEIGHT

As publisher of the Belfast & NI In Your Pocket visitor guide I have always promoted local and international football, even making the 2005 England match a cover feature – and that was before the epic victory. Having a cluster of footy murals, George Best Belfast City Airport, the new George Best Hotel and even George’s childhood home on Airbnb, the only thing missing is a statue to our favourite footballing son on the newly christened Windsor Way. Huge stadia around the world have, of course, been cashing in on overseas visitors for years. And big isn’t necessarily beautiful when it comes to capturing the imagination of foreign fans.

If you haven’t yet been to the Education & Heritage Centre within the stadium I highly recommend a visit. It’s home to a fantastic collection of memories and memorabilia, including the British Home Championship trophy of which, of course, we are outright winners, as well as original IFA minutes from the association’s 19th century roots. Add to that some great interactive exhibits - try and score against Jennings – and, naturally, a tribute to the Green and White Army. At the time of writing the Education & Heritage Centre is ranked an impressive number four in TripAdvisor’s top things to do in Belfast; testament to the draw of football tourism.


Words Heidi McAlpin

vuvuzelas. And, in case you’re wondering, Wembley ranks fifth with a 90,310 capacity. Local league football also features in our stadium’s Education & Heritage Centre but it’s to Britain where vast numbers of fans swarm for club games and stadium tours. In 2015 Visit Britain's football tourism survey ranked Old Trafford and the Emirates Stadium joint top of the league table with 109,000 foreign visitors apiece, closely followed by Anfield with 99,000 visitors. Unsurprisingly, the highest numbers came from the Republic of Ireland, but fans from Norway and Sweden took second and third spots. Meanwhile, the National Football Museum in Manchester attracts around half a million visitors each year. Back at Windsor our stands are still dominated by local members of the GAWA. But Northern Ireland fans come from all over the world for home matches, making them as much a valued tourist as the away contingency. And those precious multi-generational GAWA memories often correlate with the National Stadium’s own timeline. Are you one of the 60,000 duncher-wearing, Woodbine rolling men who stood on the terraces in the ‘50s and ‘60s for the British Home Championships? Perhaps you began your spectating career in the all-seated Kop of the 1990s? Or maybe you’re enjoying canapes and champers in one of those freshly-minted hospitality suites (I’m not jealous)? Whatever your vintage the Education & Heritage Centre will have your reminiscences covered. Back to tonight’s big game, if you’re visiting from Israel shalom. Have a great time in Norn Iron (that’s short for Northern Ireland). Enjoy our unique atmosphere and take a shedload of selfies at those George Best and Euro 2016 murals. Whoever you are and wherever you’re from, as you amble towards your pew gaze up in awe at Our Wee Stadium and remember: size isn’t everything. Capacity: 18,614. Memories: Priceless.

In a 2015 survey FourFourTwo magazine ranked Boca Juniors’ and Argentina’s La Bombonera in Buenos Aires the World’s Best Football Stadium, its bouncing capabilities giving it a lifelike quality. Sound familiar? But its 46,000 capacity is somewhat overshadowed when compared with Barcelona's legendary Camp Nou. Runner-up in this particular ranking, its 48m high structure and 99k+ capacity live long in the memory of any visitor, which is just as well as an access-all-areas Players Experience Tour will cost you a princely €139. Tours may attract over one million visitors every year but I think I’ll stick to a matchday ticket in the nosebleeds. Messi and Suarez may look like dots on the pitch from my lofty perch but I can cope. And, by the way, construction is now under way for the new Camp Nou, which is set to cost £550m and, by 2022, increase capacity to a staggering 105,000. Completing the top three is Wembley Stadium whose iconic 21st century arch and Bobby Moore statue welcome visitors in their legion. And with VIP Tours setting you back a mere £60 it seems a steal compared with its Catalan cousin. If you're wondering about our stadium the hashtag #weexist springs to mind. They don’t know what they’re missing. I mean where else can you compare your hand size with Big Pat’s and trot pitchside for a mere £8.50? Back at the top end in terms of capacity, Pyongyang’s May Day Stadium is the world’s largest football cauldron with room for a whopping 114,000 baying (or, more likely, extremely well- behaved) fans. Pitchside or VIP Tours are difficult to come by at this monster construction. Then again so is a website. Or for that matter direct flights from Belfast to North Korea. Surely only a matter of time… The aforementioned Camp Nou is the world’s second biggest football stadium and Soccer City in Johannesburg comes in third with room for 94,736 fans. That’s a headache-inducing amount of


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