Guttman takes over Israeli reins
Israel have appointed former Hapoel Tel Aviv manager Eli Guttman as their new coach.
Guttman has been handed the task of leading Israel to their first FIFA World Cup™ finals since 1970 after his appointment was unanimously approved by the Israel Football Association.
"Today I am fulfilling a dream although it is only half a dream - the other half would be to complete qualification for the World Cup," Guttman told reporters at a press conference in Tel Aviv. "Of course that is a huge goal, but if we can achieve smaller goals along the way then maybe that will be possible."
Guttman replaces Frenchman Luis Fernandez whose contract was not renewed after he failed to lead Israel to the UEFA EURO 2012 finals.
The 53-year-old, whose first appointment will be against Ukraine on 29 February, will return to the sidelines for the first time since May after recovering from heart surgery.
Guttman has been one of the most successful managers in Israel in recent years, leading Hapoel to the league and cup double last year, before helping them into the Champions League group stages for the first time.
Despite his recent links with Hapoel, Guttman warned: "I say to everyone that I am sympathetic to all teams in the league and will accordingly call players up on a professional basis.
"I feel excitement and pride to take on this role," he added. "It runs in my blood and I know that this team is not mine, but the whole of Israel's."
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