Israel captain does not fear Wales and Real Madrid star Gareth Bale

Israelis face Wales in Euro 2016 qualifier.

Gareth Bale of Wales. EPA
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Israel captain Tal Ben Haim insists they are not scared of Gareth Bale.

Real Madrid star Bale destroyed Israel in March when he scored twice in a comfortable 3-0 Wales win in Haifa.

Every time Bale had the ball Israel appeared to freeze and hapless central defender Eytan Tibi was put out of his misery when he was red carded for hacking down the striker.

But Ben Haim says there are no psychological scars as Israel attempt to stop Wales claiming the win they need in Cardiff on Sunday to reach next summer’s European Championship finals in France.

“He’s an amazing player, it’s not new,” said Ben Haim, the former Bolton, Chelsea and Portsmouth defender, of Bale.

“But I don’t think any (Israel) player is afraid of him.

“We have played against good teams and good players before and we have to be more solid at the back and in midfield.

“We played good football in the first game but when they scored a second before half-time and we had a red card to play against 10 players the game changed a little bit.”

Israel, third in Group B and chasing a play-off spot, are cast in the role of party-poopers with Wales on the brink of reaching their first major tournament for 58 years.

The whole country expects Chris Coleman’s side to end that long wait in style after Thursday’s 1-0 victory in Cyprus, when Bale scored his sixth goal in Euro 2016 qualifying.

The atmosphere is building nicely in the Welsh capital and a sell-out 33,000 Cardiff City Stadium crowd awaits the visitors.

But Israel coach Eli Gutman insists his players have not been affected by Welsh expectation, saying: “We have seen only green grass and squirrels around us at our hotel.

“We know Wales are ready to celebrate but we will focus on our game and leave that to the Welsh people.

“Wales have been very successful in this group and we know it is a difficult game.

“But we have analysed the other game and prepared well, if we do what we have planned and trained for then I believe we will get points from this game.”