Israel national football team
|Nickname(s)||הכחולים-לבנים (The Blue and Whites)|
הנבחרת (The Chosen Team)
|Association||Israel Football Association (IFA)|
|Confederation||UEFA (Europe; 1980–81; 1991–present)|
OFC (Oceania; 1985–89)
AFC (Asia; 1954–77)
|Head coach||Willibald Ruttensteiner|
|Most caps||Yossi Benayoun (101)[a]|
|Top scorer||Eran Zahavi (33)|
|Home stadium||Teddy Stadium (Jerusalem)|
Sammy Ofer Stadium (Haifa)
Bloomfield Stadium (Tel Aviv)
Turner Stadium (Be'er Sheva)
|Current||80 1 (16 September 2021)|
|Highest||15 (November 2008)|
|Lowest||99 (January 2018)|
|Appearances||1 (first in 1970)|
|Best result||Group stage (1970)|
|Appearances||4 (first in 1956)|
|Best result||Champions (1964)|
Israel's national team is the direct successor of the Mandatory Palestine (Eretz Israel) national team, which played five internationals in 1934–1940, and was managed by the Eretz Israel Football Association. The Israel Football Association is a full member of the European Confederation UEFA since 1994.
Football has a long tradition in Israel. The game was originally introduced during the time of the Ottoman Empire. The Palestinian Football Association was formed in August 1928, and joined FIFA in June 1929, but at the time the association was made up of Arab clubs, Jewish clubs, and clubs representing British policemen and soldiers serving in the region during the British Mandate rule that spanned the period between World War One and the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. The British Mandate of Palestine national team made its debut against Egypt in 1934 FIFA World Cup qualification, losing 1–7 in Cairo. The team played five international matches, including a friendly match against Lebanon, until the British Mandate for Palestine was dissolved. During those five games, the national team fielded only Jewish players. Three anthems were played before each match: the British "God Save the King", the Jewish (and future Israeli) "Hatikvah", and the opposing team's anthem.
In 1948 the team became, officially, the national team of Israel. The Israel national team's first match as an independent nation was on 26 September 1948, against the US Olympic Team. The game was won by the US 1–3, and in the 20th minute of the game Shmuel Ben-Dror scored the first goal after the creation of the State of Israel.
Asian Football Confederation membership
Muslim and Arab countries boycotting Israel
Israel was one of the founding members of the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) following its own independence in 1948 (prior to that it played under the banner of the "British Mandate of Palestine/Eretz Israel"). After the 1974 Asian Games in Iran, and Israel's 0–1 tense loss to Iran in the finals, Kuwait and other Muslim and Arab countries refused to play them. Following this, they were expelled from the confederation and spent a few years trying to qualify from such continental bodies as the OFC (Oceania) before officially joining UEFA (Europe).
Israel's last years in the AFC
Israel competed at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) between 1954 and 1977. Due to the Arab League boycott of Israel, several Muslim countries refused to compete against Israel. The political situation culminated in Israel winning the 1958 World Cup qualifying stage for Asia and Africa without playing a single game, forcing FIFA to schedule a playoff between Israel and Wales to ensure the team did not qualify without playing at least one game (which Wales won).
Israel hosted and won the 1964 AFC Asian Cup.
In 1969, Israel qualified for its first and only FIFA World Cup, via Asia/Oceania, and earned two points after a 1–1 draw with Sweden and a 0–0 draw with eventual finalist Italy, and a 0–2 loss to Uruguay. The goal against Sweden, scored by Mordechai Spiegler, is Israel's only FIFA World Cup goal to date.
In 1974, Israel was excluded from AFC competitions, as a result of a proposal by Kuwait which was adopted by a vote of 17 to 13 with 6 abstentions. The vote coincided with the 1974 Asian Games, where the football competition was marred by the refusal of both North Korea and Kuwait to play second-round matches against Israel.
In 1976, Israel went to its second Olympic Games and lost in the quarterfinals again, this time against Brazil. In 1972 and 1977, it attempted World Cup qualification as part of Asia, which both times ended in failure.
Years in exile
First steps in UEFA
First steps in OFC
For the next two tournaments, Israel entered Oceania's (OFC) qualification stage.
In 1989, Israel have won the 1990 FIFA World Cup qualification – OFC Second Round (Oceania), beating the very last group stage of it (also known as the Second round) consisting of both Australia and New Zealand.
In 1991, Israeli clubs began participating in European club competitions of UEFA, and Israel returned to the European leg of World Cup qualifying in 1992. In 1994, Israel received full UEFA membership, 20 years after it had left Asia. Within Europe, Israel has been a relatively minor nation, though with some successes, notably winning 3–2 in Paris against France in 1993, and 5–0 against Austria in 1999. That year, Israel made it to the UEFA Euro 2000 qualifying play-offs, but was beaten by Denmark.
Israel came close to advancing to the playoff stage in their 2006 World Cup qualifying group, finishing third, behind France, and tied on points with Switzerland, which also remained unbeaten in 10 matches after 4 wins and 6 draws. The Swiss had a better goal difference, though, and advanced to the qualification play-off. Coach Avram Grant announced his resignation on 26 October 2005. After the end of his contract, he was succeeded by Dror Kashtan.
In UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying, Israel came very close to qualifying for the final tournament, but finished fourth in Group E, just one point behind second-placed Russia, who qualified directly with Croatia, and level on 23 points with England, who also failed to advance. The 4–3 home loss to Croatia was the first loss after 13 consecutive official games and 9 home games without a loss.
In 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification, Israel again came in fourth, behind Switzerland, Greece, and Latvia. For the UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying campaign, Kashtan was replaced as coach by Frenchman Luis Fernández, but to no avail, as Israel finished a distant third behind Greece and Croatia.
The continued presence of the Israeli Football Association in UEFA was a precedent cited by Australia to justify its transfer from the Oceania Football Confederation to the Asian Football Confederation.
In the past, the Israel national football team's home stadium was the Ramat Gan Stadium in the Tel Aviv District city of Ramat Gan. The stadium seats 41,583 and was the first stadium in Israel to meet world-class standards.
Ever since 2014 Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa (30,780 seats), ever since 2015 Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem (34,000 seats), ever since 2018 Turner Stadium in Be'er Sheva (16,126 seats), and ever since 2021 Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv (29,400 seats), are being used as the official home stadiums of the Israel national football team. All Four are considered to be world-class standard stadiums. The Israel Football Association has used Teddy Stadium and Bloomfield Stadium while hosting the 2013 Euro U21 championship in Israel.
|Puma||Germany||1985–1989, 1996–2008, 2018–present|
Results and fixtures
Win Draw Loss
|11 November 2020 Friendly||Norway||Cancelled[b]||Israel||Oslo, Norway|
|Report||Stadium: Ullevaal Stadion|
|Note: The friendly match was cancelled due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.|
|15 November 2020 2020–21 UEFA Nations League||Czech Republic||1–0||Israel||Plzeň, Czech Republic|
||Report||Stadium: Doosan Arena|
Referee: Srđan Jovanović (Serbia)
|18 November 2020 2020–21 UEFA Nations League||Israel||1–0||Scotland||Netanya, Israel|
||Report||Stadium: Netanya Stadium|
Referee: Paweł Raczkowski (Poland)
|25 March 2021 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification||Israel||0–2||Denmark||Tel Aviv, Israel|
|18:00 (19:00 UTC+2)||Report (FIFA)
|Stadium: Bloomfield Stadium|
Referee: Craig Pawson (England)
|28 March 2021 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification||Israel||1–1||Scotland||Tel Aviv, Israel|
|20:45 (21:45 UTC+3)||
||Stadium: Bloomfield Stadium|
Referee: Deniz Aytekin (Germany)
|31 March 2021 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification||Moldova||1–4||Israel||Chișinău, Moldova|
|20:45 (21:45 UTC+3)||
|Stadium: Zimbru Stadium|
Referee: Bojan Pandžić (Sweden)
|5 June 2021 Friendly||Montenegro||1–3||Israel||Podgorica, Montenegro|
|20:45 (21:45 UTC+3)||Report
|Stadium: Podgorica City Stadium|
Referee: Irfan Peljto (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
|9 June 2021 Friendly||Portugal||4–0||Israel||Lisbon, Portugal|
|20:45 (21:45 UTC+3)||Report
|Stadium: Estádio José Alvalade|
Referee: Jérémie Pignard (France)
|1 September 2021 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification||Faroe Islands||0–4||Israel||Tórshavn, Faroe Islands|
|20:45 (21:45 UTC+3)||Report (FIFA)
Referee: Dennis Higler (Netherlands)
|4 September 2021 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification||Israel||5–2||Austria||Haifa, Israel|
|20:45 (21:45 UTC+3)||Report (FIFA)
|Stadium: Sammy Ofer Stadium|
Referee: Felix Zwayer (Germany)
|7 September 2021 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification||Denmark||5–0||Israel||Copenhagen, Denmark|
|20:45 (21:45 UTC+3)||Report (FIFA)
|Stadium: Parken Stadium|
Referee: Tobias Stieler (Germany)
|9 October 2021 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification||Scotland||3–2||Israel||Glasgow, Scotland|
|17:00 (19:00 UTC+3)||Report (FIFA)
|Stadium: Hampden Park|
Referee: Szymon Marciniak (Poland)
|12 October 2021 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification||Israel||2–1||Moldova||Be'er Sheva, Israel|
|21:45 (21:45 UTC+3)||Report (FIFA)
||Stadium: Turner Stadium|
Referee: Andris Treimanis (Latvia)
|12 November 2021 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification||Austria||v||Israel||Klagenfurt, Austria|
|20:45 (21:45 UTC+2)||Report (FIFA)
|Stadium: Wörthersee Stadion|
|15 November 2021 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification||Israel||v||Faroe Islands||Netanya, Israel|
|20:45 (21:45 UTC+2)||Report (FIFA)
|Stadium: Netanya Stadium|
- As of 18 March 2021
|Head coach||Willi Ruttensteiner|
|Assistant coach||Gabriel Burstein|
|Assistant coach||Marco Balbul|
|Assistant coach||Rupert Marko|
|Manager||Years as manager||Pld
|Jerry Beit haLevi||1953–54||5||0||0||5||1||7||0.00|
|Jerry Beit haLevi||1957||1||0||0||1||4||5||0.00|
| Itzhak Schneor
|Richard Møller Nielsen||2000–02||20||7||4||9||29||33||35.00|
|Eli Ohana (caretaker)||2010||1||1||0||0||2||0||100.00|
|Alon Hazan (caretaker)||2016||1||0||0||1||0||2||0.00|
|Alon Hazan (caretaker)||2018||1||0||0||1||1||2||0.00|
- The following players were called up for the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification matches against Scotland and Moldova, on 9 October 2021 and 12 October 2021; respectively.
- Caps and goals updated as of 12 October 2021 after the match against Moldova.
The following players have been called up for the team within the last 12 months and are still available for selection.
|Pos.||Player||Date of birth (age)||Caps||Goals||Club||Latest call-up|
|GK||Ariel Harush||25 May 1988||21||0||Hapoel Be'er Sheva||v. Denmark, 7 September 2021 INJ|
|GK||Boris Klaiman||26 November 1990||1||0||Volos||v. Portugal, 9 June 2021|
|DF||Joel Abu Hanna||22 January 1998||6||0||Legia Warsaw||v. Moldova, 12 October 2021 INJ|
|DF||Edi Gotlieb||16 August 1992||0||0||Hapoel Tel Aviv||v. Scotland, 9 October 2021 INJ / PRE|
|DF||Hatem Abd Elhamed||18 March 1991||14||0||Hapoel Be'er Sheva||v. Scotland, 9 October 2021 INJ|
|DF||Idan Nachmias||17 March 1997||1||0||Maccabi Tel Aviv||v. Scotland, 9 October 2021 INJ|
|DF||Eitan Tibi (vice-captain)||16 November 1987||56||1||Hapoel Be'er Sheva||v. Denmark, 7 September 2021 INJ|
|DF||Orel Dgani||8 January 1989||19||0||Beitar Jerusalem||v. Denmark, 7 September 2021 INJ|
|DF||Uri Dahan||7 December 1999||0||0||Maccabi Haifa||v. Denmark, 7 September 2021 PRE|
|DF||Matan Baltaxa||20 September 1995||1||0||Maccabi Tel Aviv||v. Portugal, 9 June 2021|
|DF||Or Blorian||7 March 2000||0||0||Maccabi Petah Tikva||v. Portugal, 9 June 2021 PRE|
|DF||Loai Taha||26 November 1989||13||0||Hapoel Haifa||v. Moldova, 31 March 2021|
|DF||Maor Kandil||27 November 1993||2||0||Maccabi Tel Aviv||v. Scotland, 28 March 2021 INJ|
|DF||Taleb Tawatha||21 June 1992||21||1||Maccabi Haifa||v. Denmark, 25 March 2021 INJ|
|DF||Sheran Yeini||8 December 1986||32||0||Maccabi Tel Aviv||v. Scotland, 18 November 2020 RET|
|DF||Or Dadia||12 July 1997||0||0||Hapoel Be'er Sheva||v. Scotland, 18 November 2020 PRE|
|MF||Mohammad Abu Fani||27 April 1998||9||0||Maccabi Haifa||v. Denmark, 7 September 2021 INJ|
|MF||Dolev Haziza||5 July 1995||6||0||Maccabi Haifa||v. Denmark, 7 September 2021|
|MF||Omer Atzili||27 July 1993||3||0||Maccabi Haifa||v. Denmark, 7 September 2021 INJ|
|MF||Neta Lavi||25 August 1996||9||0||Maccabi Haifa||v. Portugal, 9 June 2021 INJ|
|MF||Aviel Zargari||11 December 2002||2||0||Beitar Jerusalem||v. Portugal, 9 June 2021 INJ|
|MF||Beram Kayal||2 May 1988||45||2||Bnei Sakhnin||v. Moldova, 31 March 2021|
|MF||Eyal Golasa||7 October 1991||17||0||Maccabi Tel Aviv||v. Denmark, 25 March 2021 INJ|
|MF||Mohammed Kna'an||14 January 2000||0||0||Ashdod||v. Denmark, 25 March 2021 PRE|
|FW||Yonas Malede||14 November 1999||2||0||Gent||v. Portugal, 9 June 2021|
|FW||Osama Khalaila||6 April 1998||1||0||Maccabi Tel Aviv||v. Portugal, 9 June 2021|
- As of 9 October 2021
- Players in bold are still active with Israel.
- Statistics include official FIFA-recognised matches only.
Most capped players
|2||Tal Ben Haim[e]||95||2||2002–2017|
|Olympic Games record|
|1952||Did not enter|
|1960||Did not qualify|
|1972||Did not qualify|
|1984||Did not qualify|
Since the 1992 Summer Olympics, the football competition is played as an Under-23 competition
- *Denoted draws include knockout matches decided on drawing of lots.
FIFA World Cup
|Israel's FIFA World Cup record||Qualification record|
|As Mandatory Palestine (Eretz Israel)||As Mandatory Palestine (Eretz Israel)|
|1930||Did Not Enter||Did Not Enter|
|1934||Did Not Qualify||2nd||2||0||0||2||2||11||CAF/AFC|
|As Israel||As Israel|
|1950||Did Not Qualify||2nd||2||0||0||2||2||11||UEFA|
|1970||Group Stage||12th||3||0||2||1||1||3||Squad||Final Round||4||3||1||0||8||1||AFC/OFC|
|1974||Did Not Qualify||Zone A Final||6||4||1||1||12||2|
|2022||To Be Determined||2nd||5||3||1||1||14||6|
|2026||To Be Determined|
- *Draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks
UEFA European Championship
|Israel's UEFA European Championship record||UEFA European Championship Qualification record|
|1960–1992||Not a UEFA member||Not a UEFA member|
|1996||Did not qualify||5th||10||3||3||4||13||13|
|2024||To be determined|
UEFA Nations League
|UEFA Nations League record|
|2022–23||B||To be determined|
AFC Asian Cup
As of 9 June 2021.
Positive record Neutral record Negative record
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||4||2||1||1|
|Republic of Ireland||5||1||3||1|
- Silver medalists: 1974
- Israel national under-21 football team
- Israel national under-19 football team
- Israel national under-17 football team
- Football in Israel
- Sports in Israel
- Israeli Premier League
- Yossi Benayoun also played and scored against Romania B however this was not a full-international match and is therefore not included
- The friendly match was cancelled due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.
- The match was played behind closed doors due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Israeli authorities have allowed the attendance of audiences at football matches (up to 5,000 seats), thanks to over 50% of Israel's population who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by then.
- Tal Ben Haim also played against Romania B however this was not a full-international match and is therefore not included
- Tal Banin also played against USSR XI however this was not a full-international match and is therefore not included
- Mordechai Spiegler also played in 25 matches that are not recognised by FIFA, scoring eight additional goals, however they are not full-international matches and are therefore not included
- Nahum Stelmach also played in 19 matches that are not recognised by FIFA, scoring three additional goals, however they are not full-international matches and are therefore not included
- Eli Ohana also played a 1984 Olympic qualification game however this was not a full-international match and is therefore not included
- Yehoshua Feigenbaum also played in 15 matches that are not recognised by FIFA, scoring nine additional goals, however they are not full-international matches and are therefore not included
- Includes matches against West Germany.
- Includes matches against Soviet Union.
- Includes matches against Yugoslavia and Serbia and Montenegro.
- As South Vietnam.
- "The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking". FIFA. 16 September 2021. Retrieved 16 September 2021.
- Elo rankings change compared to one year ago. "World Football Elo Ratings". eloratings.net. 14 October 2021. Retrieved 14 October 2021.
- Mubarak, Hassanin. "Palestine – International Results – Details". RSSSF. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
- "Statistical Kit: Preliminary Draw for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil" (PDF). FIFA.com. 28 June 2011. p. 53. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
A Jewish delegation from Palestine (then a British mandate) played at the qualifying games for 1934 & 1938. It was the first Jewish national team, and as such the forerunner of Israel.
- "Site-Map-Israel-Football-Facts—Stats". Retrieved 19 May 2016.
- "Bayati recalls Iran's tense win over Israel".
- Montague, James (27 February 2008). "Time is right for Israel to return to its Asian roots". The Guardian. London.
- "Aust-Asian bid fails". The Sydney Morning Herald. 16 September 1974. p. 11. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
- Rahman, Mansoor (14 September 1974). "'Visibles' win without any kick..." New Straits Times. p. 22. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
- Williams, Richard (19 May 2015). "Why Does Israel's Football Team Play In Europe?". Sky News. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
- "נבחרת מול קבוצה: סיכום ההפסד של נבחרת ישראל לדנמרק - וואלה! ספורט". 26 March 2021.
- "Austria vs. Scotland". Union of European Football Associations. 7 September 2021. Retrieved 7 September 2021.
- "Denmark vs. Israel". Union of European Football Associations. 7 September 2021. Retrieved 7 September 2021.
- "Scotland vs. Israel". Union of European Football Associations. 9 October 2021. Retrieved 9 October 2021.
- "Israel vs. Moldova". Union of European Football Associations. 12 October 2021. Retrieved 12 October 2021.
- Win% is rounded to two decimal places
- Mamrud, Roberto. "Israel – Record International Players". RSSSF.
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