The build up starts here, Israel v Russia. The game the world has been waiting for. Have you seen all those Israeli flags flying from the back of cars in the UK? All the Star of David face painting kits on sale? The copies of Munich flying off the shelves at Blockbuster? England has gone Israeli crazy! For the next three days. Shalom.
And they quite like us too, they might even do us a favour. Their goalie, Dudu Aouate, seems to think so.
“England can rest assured that we will do everything we can to win this match.
“My favourite is England. I like England, I like English football and I have English friends. My mate Yossi Benayoun, our captain, also has a lot of English mates at Liverpool and although he’s not playing [on Saturday] I know he’s keen for us to give England a helping hand. “
He said, sounding a bit like one of those guys who argues that some of his best friends are gay. But he won’t just be doing it for us (I know, shocking), there is even more at stake.
“First of all we want to win for ourselves. Not for England, for Israel. We know that we can’t qualify but the points could be useful for us in terms of our ranking when it comes to the World Cup qualifiers: whether we’re in pot A, B, or C [in the draw on November 25] could depend on how many points we manage to rack up this time round and that could have an important bearing on our chances.
You could say they are playing for a draw! Arf arf arf!
But do they have a chance? Or is Hiddink going to hype the Russian players up to play with the passion of a team that has more at stake than which pot their all is picked from? Or, like us, will you be watching the Scotland game anyway?