New Israel national team coach Andreas Herzog was officially presented this week at a press conference where he spoke for the first time since his appointment was approved by the Israel Football Association’s executive director, Willi Rotensteiner.
The 49-year-old Austrian’s appointment came after almost a year in which Israel was without a coach, since Elisha Levy was relieved on his duties.
“I have been here for a week and the reception has been particularly warm,” said Herzog. “I am excited to be the national coach here and I think we have a great challenge, but at the same time I believe in Israeli football. Of course there is hard work ahead of us. My goal is to bring the players to the highest possible level and create positive energy.”
Herzog’s first match in charge of Israel will be on September 7 against Albania in the opening match of the new UEFA Nationals League. The blue-and-white follows that match four days later, when it travels to Belfast for a friendly against Northern Ireland, before playing Scotland in its second Nations League match in October.
Regarding the future of striker Eran Zahavi on the national team, Herzog remained neutral. Zahavi announced in September 2017 that he will no longer play for Israel after he was suspended indefinitely by the Israel Football Association for flinging the captain’s armband during the 2018 World Cup qualifying defeat to Macedonia.
“Eran Zahavi is a great striker, but on the other side he made a big mistake. It is important to say that this is a decision of the association, not one I can make.”
When it comes to Israel’s chances to qualify for Euro 2020, Herzog appeared realistic yet confident.
“We have to wait for the lottery. I saw most recent of Israel games and saw what was good and what must be changed. I believe in the quality of the talent and in my abilities as a coach and I believe we have the distinct opportunity to qualify.”