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Benayoun back in Israel squad

The 30-year-old midfielder was sidelined for six months last October with an Achilles injury and had to undergo surgery but has recently returned to training at Chelsea.

"I have been in touch with him since his injury," coach Luis Fernandez said when announcing the squad on Wednesday.

"Yossi has returned to training at Chelsea and the moment he's training... (he's a player) I cannot overlook... I know he is not 100 percent fit, but he is the captain."

Israel host Latvia on March 26 and Georgia three days later at the compact Bloomfield Stadium in south Tel Aviv, a rare change from the larger 44,000 seat National Stadium.

After four matches, Israel lie fourth in qualifying Group F on four points, behind leaders Croatia (10 points), Greece (8) and Georgia (6) and ahead of Latvia on goal difference and Malta who have lost all their matches so far.