Israel welcome the visitors Slovenia in the Euro Qualification – Round 1. The match will be held on Thursday, March, 21st, at the Sammy Ofer Stadium (Haifa).
The Israel national team have never qualified for the European Championships, but they won the Asian Cup once (yet it was held in Israel). However, change is all around us, and the ‘Blue and Whites’ are presently keen on competing continentally as well. Why not, actually? Indeed, there are 2 favorites in their group, – Poland and Austria – but they are not too rampant not to take a few points from them. Still, it would be nice to attain some in the clash with the visiting Slovenia.
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Over the span of their independency, the travelers on the day have attained some experience: they competed in the 2002 FIFA World Cup held in Japan and Korea, same as they did in the 2010 FIFA World Cup held in South Africa and the Euro-2000. In light of the team’s fail to qualify to the 2018 World Cup, the old manager was dismissed and Kavcic was appointed. However, after the fiasco in the Nations League when Slovenia ended last in their Group C, under the new management, they won only once in 7 matches. So, that coach was also dismissed. It’s been 2 rounds now that the team are headed by Slovenia U19’s 49-year-old manager Benedejcic.
Overall, the visitors present a plucky side that don’t play themselves and prevent others from doing so. The team count solid players like Atletico Madrid’s goalkeeper Oblak, Atlanta’s defender Ilicic, Dynamo Kyiv’s forward Verbic, but the strategy that the club adhere to kills any desire to watch them play. Slovenia normally feature underscoring matches. 24 of their 30 latest clashes produced under 2.5 goals; only 3 of the 30 matches saw over 3.5 goals. Therefore, the main Slovenia’s task in the fixture concerned will be to keep a clean sheet. Even losing along the match, the side don’t rush forward to play back, they perform as before, looking not to allow, and then сome what may. The team were not officially appointed a manager yet: Kek is expected to be back to his post (he used to manage Slovenia in 2007-10), but there is no final decision taken so far. Thus, the hosts need to make use of this mess and start their qualification with a win. The ‘Blue and Whites’ were victors in 3 recent home clashes, they have every chance to register the 4th win, or, a draw at least. That said, given the guests’ playing style, the match is not predicted to see over 3 goals.
Prediction for the match: Israel to win or Draw & Under 3.5 goals.