Israel hires Guttman as new football coach

Israel has hired Eli Guttman as national team coach.

The 53-year-old Guttman replaces Frenchman Luis Fernandez, whose

contract was not renewed after Israel failed to qualify for the

2012 European Championship.

Speaking at a news conference in Tel Aviv on Tuesday, Guttman

said he felt ”excited and proud” to take the job and said his

team will play ”modern football.”

Guttman has been one of the most successful coaches in the

Israeli Premier League over the last decade, most recently guiding

Hapoel Tel Aviv to the 2010 league title and the Champions League

group stage the following season.

However, he has not worked since June after suffering a heart

attack midway through last season.

His first match in charge will be a friendly against Euro 2012

host Ukraine on Feb. 29.