Benayoun primed for crucial tie with England

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The Independent Online

The Liverpool midfielder Yossi Benayoun and Chelsea central defender Tal Ben Haim have been included in a 23-man Israel squad for their Euro 2008 Group E qualifier against England at Wembley on Saturday. The pair will team up with the rest of the squad named by the Israel coach, Dror Kashtan, when they arrive in London this week.

Kashtan has recalled three players left out in recent months, including the Beitar Jerusalem midfielder Michael Zandberg and the defenders Yigal Antebi, of Hapoel Tel Aviv, and Klemi Saban, of Maccabi Netanya.

The strikers Elyaniv Barda, of the Belgian side Genk, and Pini Balili, of the Turkish team Sivasspor, are also included despite missing last month's 2-1 friendly international defeat by Belarus in Minsk.

Croatia and Israel lead group E with 17 points. Russia are third on 15 with England on 14 points. Israel have played eight matches and the other three seven. The group also includes Macedonia, Estonia and Andorra, who cannot qualify.

Israel and England played out a goalless draw in their first meeting in the qualifying group in Tel Aviv in March.

Israel squad: Goalkeepers: Aouate (Deportivo La Coruña), Davidovich (Maccabi Haifa), Strauber (Maccabi Netanya)

Defenders: Ben Haim (Chelsea), Benado, Gershon, Ziv (all Beitar Jerusalem), Shpungin (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Saban, Strul (both Maccabi Netanya), Antebi (Hapoel Tel Aviv)

Midfielders: Benayoun (Liverpool), Badir (Hapoel Tel Aviv), Alberman, Tal, Zandberg (all Beitar Jerusalem)

Strikers: Tamuz (Beitar Jerusalem), Golan (Maccabi Petah Tikva), Colautti (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Yitzhaki (Beitar Jerusalem), Balili (Sivasspor), Katan (Maccabi Haifa), Barda (Hapoel Tel Aviv).

l Freddie Ljungberg has pulled out of Sweden's squad for the European Championship qualifier against Denmark next Saturday because of injury. The 30-year-old former Arsenal midfielder has been struggling with a groin problem and tests have confirmed the West Ham player will not be fit in time for the Group F contest. Sweden have also lost Matias Concha to a thigh injury.

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