The Israeli FA confirmed today that Yossi Benayoun will be out for months, possibly the whole season, after rupturing his Achilles tendon. The news has rocked the Israeli national team, with two critical games this upcoming week against Croatia and Greece in Group F qualifications for Euro 2012. Yossi Benayoun has been Israel's best player for the past half decade. His goals have led Israel to solid showings in the last few campaigns, but never to the major tournaments fans have hoped to see Israel perform in. Things look pretty bleak, eh?
While this is obviously not the best way to start preparations for the two biggest games of the campaign, but I think that this may turn out to be a blessing in disguise. The national team has too often relied solely on Yossi for important breaks in games. Players always seemed to want to feed Yossi the ball, it always had to go through him. As Eduardo, the Brazilian born Croatian striker, commented earlier this week, "We hope Yossi can play. If we stop him, we beat Israel." So what I'm hoping for is that with Yossi on the sidelines for the next few games, the other players step out of his shadow and make Israel a far harder team to play against. With the likes of Rafaelov, Shechter & Vermut, Israel may actually have the attacking talent needed to surprise.
The next two games, as I mentioned earlier, are against our main rivals in the group: Croatia and Greece. I'm cautiously optimistic. Here's hoping.