Glasgow. We’re here again. Every few years there is a team that paralyzes Israel and does not give up. In recent years this is Scotland. But Saturday will be a really special moment. A win by one of the teams will put her in a very promising position and with a particularly high percentage to reach the playoffs for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. No need to explain how big it can be for Israel, certainly when the prize contest in the playoffs is a ticket to the only big tournament we have been to, somewhere in 1970.
Frequent visits to the Scottish capital do bring about changes. For example, in 2018, in November, the Scottish team really did not interest the local audience. She barely received mentions in the main media for the game at the time and everyone we encountered in the days around the game did not really understand what the fuss was about and why journalists from Israel should be sent to cover the game.
Sean Weissman speaks ahead of the team game
Then the corona greeted us and brought games with it in front of an empty stadium. Now the situation is different. This is a team that was in the Euros, after ousting Israel in that infamous penalty shootout in the League of Nations, and now it understands that it has a chance to reach the World Cup. The Scottish crowd is reuniting around his team and perhaps it is also the Corona that has prevented them from frequenting the pitches for so long, so this time there is a high feature ahead of this game.
The Scots are talking about 52,000 spectators. These are the numbers that run in the media. Full stadium. “It used to be called the ‘Hampden Roar’ (the roar of the Hampden) when this stadium had 120,000 fans inside. But those were completely different days. Today it is not close to this situation, although I understand there will be over 45,000 spectators, so the atmosphere It will definitely be hot, ”says Jerry, the amiable Scottish taxi driver who took Barter on his first day in Glasgow and drove from place to place.
The Scots know that the level gaps in Israel are almost non-existent. Each team has a different side that is stronger. So they are building on the audience this time. Intensive work is being done on this issue to encourage as many Scots as possible to frequent the pitch on Saturday. The convenient time, 5pm local time, is supposed to do the job definitively and ensure almost full if not full occupancy in front of Willy Rotensteiner’s trainees, at least that’s what the Scots say proudly.
When the Scots are asked who the most dangerous people they know from Israel are, they first go to the guys they know from Celtic. “Nir Bitton is a player who no matter where you put him, he can play. He also knows all these players, he has played against them all these years, he has an advantage,” said Jerry, who is revealed not only as a good taxi driver but as a big Celtic fan. . “I really like Liel Abda, he plays up, like a second striker, insanely talented, go know where he will go next. Obviously the greatest Israeli you sent here was Eyal Berkovich, but he came to us after years in the Premier League. Eyal was something else “Special, but go find out where she’s going to work.”
The Scots are building on three players. Andy Robertson, Liverpool’s formidable left-back, Ryan Christie who plays under the strikers and was of course one of Celtic’s stars before he also left for the Premier League, and Linden Dykes, the tall striker who is supposed to be the main weapon in Robertson’s stationary situations and elevations. The fourth player who can surprise is Che Adams, but if that happens, it will be thanks to Christie, who knows how to feed fast players with good dedication. In the face of a less coordinated Israeli defense, it can be devastating.
This is one of the reasons Willie Rotensteiner wanted to go to a short training camp before Saturday’s game. “Usually teams arrive two days before the game, we suddenly heard that you are here from Monday. We did not understand how it makes sense and what the reason is,” they wondered in Scotland about the meaning of Israel’s early arrival. But the team is trying to make the most of its early convening. The training last night began with work on stationary situations, on the defensive side. Rotensteiner knows very well what awaits him and tries to correct the shortcomings that stood out badly in the game against Denmark. Offensively, it is clear to everyone that Israel has a much higher standard than the Scots. The key will be to introduce an iron defense game.
The coach of course has dilemmas. It seems that Nir Bitton is the only brake guaranteed in the lineup and the big question is who the two will play alongside him. The coach tried several teams and yesterday, the triangle of Bitton, Dor Peretz and Joel Abu Hanna was the most successful for him. The thing is that the coach is very afraid to give up Dor Peretz in the center of the field and hence the headache is very big. Iyad Abu ‘Abid is doing good training and arrived in an excellent mood after the pair against Maccabi Haifa, and he also took into account certain defensive combinations that the coach tried.
The problem with giving up Peretz in the middle of the field is also the injuries of Neta Lavi and Muhammad Abu Fani. If he has to make a replacement, he’s in trouble. He does not have a player who can go up and enter the middle who was also part of the team before and has the experience or the set of tools required for such a large and stressful game. In addition, in recent games a kind of very good coordination has been built between Peretz and Natcho. Therefore, this deliberation should accompany Willy until the end of the preparation days, when if he chooses to go with the Venice midfielder as a brake, then his former friend Maccabi Tel Aviv will enter the center of the field alongside the captain. At the same time, there are reports of multiple gatherings at meetings, one that testifies to how hard the Austrian works and lingers on many details in front of his players in the hope of achieving a prestigious and important victory.
Rotensteiner will have another stationary training session today (Thursday), tomorrow he will hold the concluding training. The preparation days are about to end, but the team has a great belief that despite the deductions, it can be done. “The games with Scotland are close and decided on small things. If we know how to neutralize the element of stationary situations, there will be a very good chance of winning,” the team added.Nir Biton He concluded nicely: “I played a lot of great games, but this is probably the biggest game I will take part in.” If the rest of the players share this feeling, then there is no doubt that a huge fight will be seen in Hampden Park from the Israeli side, which will try to end with a roar of joy that will not embarrass the famous ‘Hampden Roar’.