Israel Under-21 - England Under-21 Preview: Young Lions out to restore some pride against hosts
Stuart Pearce’s side are already eliminated but will be hoping finish the tournament on a high, while their opponents can still proceed to the knockout rounds with a big win
By Ryan Bailey
Dasa, Davidzada, Vehava, Levy
Twatha, Biton, Verta, Zaguri
Clyne, Dawson, Wisdom, Robinson
Redmond, Henderson, McEachran, Ince
Israel, who have drawn 2-2 with Norway and lost 4-0 to Italy thus far, have a number of injury concerns ahead of Tuesday's final Group A game.
Marwan Kabha remains side-lined with an abdominal injury while both Zaguri and Eliazer Dasa are carrying minor knocks but are expected to be fit for Tuesday's game.
Meanwhile, Eyal Golasa is suspended after being sent-off in the defeat to Italy on Saturday but Nir Biton is expected to captain the side from midfield once again.
Guy Lazon's side need a minor miracle if they are to progress to the semi-finals including a major swing in goal difference.
Back-to-back defeats have left the Young Lions bottom of the group without a point and Stuart Pearce is expected to make a couple of changes.
Captain Jordan Henderson is expected to retain his place in midfield while Andre Wisdom, Jack Robinson and Josh McEachran could all start.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Israel's only previous tournament appearance came six years ago, but they lost all three fixtures against the Netherlands, Portugal and Belgium, failing to score a single goal in the process.
- The last time the two sides clashed was two years ago, when Stuart Pearce's side were 4-1 winners at Oakwell.
- The hosts have averaged 32.5 per cent possession in the tournament so far - only Russia (29.8%) have worse ball retention.
- Munas Dabbur (3) has been caught offside more than any other player in the tournament.
- England are aiming to avoid departing an U21 tournament without a single point for the first time.
- Stuart Pearce's Young Lions have had just seven attempts on target in their first two Group A games.
- Jordan Henderson (pictured right) played in all eight qualifying matches. The Liverpool midfielder is 9/1 with BetVictor to open the scoring against Israel.
- England's Under-21 side have not recorded three back-to-back defeats since 1996 (17 years ago) when they were beaten in consecutive games by Angola, Portugal and Brazil.
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Top 3 Predictions
Israel Under 21 0-2 England Under 21
- 9.68 %
Israel Under 21 1-3 England Under 21
- 9.03 %
Israel Under 21 1-2 England Under 21
- 7.42 %
|UEFA European U-21 Championship (EU21)||11 Jun 2013||Israel Under 21 1 - England Under 21 0|
|Israel Under 21|
|18 Nov 2013||Israel Under 21 3 - Portugal Under 21 4||EU21|
|15 Nov 2013||Israel Under 21 4 - Norway Under 21 1||EU21|
|15 Oct 2013||Norway Under 21 1 - Israel Under 21 3||EU21|
|10 Oct 2013||Portugal Under 21 3 - Israel Under 21 0||EU21|
|8 Sep 2013||Israel Under 21 7 - Azerbaijan Under 21 2||EU21|
|-||Ofer Yom Tov Verta||Defender|
|-||Omri Ben Harush||Defender|
The midfielder has been one of the stand-out performers of the tournament so far and has shown why he's so highly rated. Both Manchester City and Tottenham were reportedly interested in the 21-year-old, with Biton even going on trial with the former, and he'll be eager to impress potential buyers against England. Biton is a box-to-box playmaker and highlighted his ability at both ends of the pitch against Norway by opening the scoring for the hosts.
There have not been many positives about England's disappointing campaign but the performances of the Birmingham City winger have certainly caught the eye. The 19-year-old speedster has operated on both the left and right flanks and has caused the opposition plenty of problems with his pace, trickery and directness. Another impressive performance in front of a host of Premier League scouts could be enough to attract a move away from St Andrews and the second-tier.
Israel still have a slim chance of progressing to the last-four and will be backed by a passionate home crowd in Jerusalem. The hosts need to beat England, hope that Italy record three points against Norway and a six-goal swing goes in their favour. However, England - now playing for pride alone - will not want to come away from the tournament pointless and should have enough quality to edge what will be a tight game.