FIFA 2014: One step nearer
Israel stuns Portugal with a draw... away. Moral: there are no easy teams in soccer these days. Albania has three victories, Liechtenstein has two draws, the Faroe Islands have one. In future the trend can only continue. Israel's result is a classic example of a country making its mark in the world of soccer.
Israel plays in Group F of the UEFA qualifying rounds for the FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil, together with Russia, Portugal, Azerbaijan, Northern Ireland and Luxemburg. The draw in Portugal this Friday, against a team with Cristiano Ronaldo, Miguel Veloso, Pepe, Nani, Hugo Almeida, among many others, shows how far Israeli football has come, and underlines the tremendous strides taken by (formerly) minor players in the soccer world.
To say that Portugal did not deserve the home draw with Israel would be an insult to Eli Guttman's team, which will not qualify for the FIFA 2014 in Brazil, but which in nine games has three victories, four draws and two defeats, scoring nineteen goals, conceding 14 and having 13 points. The last game will be at home against Northern Ireland.
Israel will not qualify for the FIFA 2014 in Brazil because Portugal has 18 points, and Russia 21. In principle, in Group F, Russia will qualify automatically for the World Cup Finals in Brazil, unless there is another spectacular collapse at the last minute, or some internal revolution in the boot-room, or some infantile and unprofessional tantrum from one or other of the team's soccer players.
Russia needs to beat Azerbaijan away to qualify automatically for Brasil 2014.One could say if Russia does not beat Azerbaijan, then it does not deserve to qualify.