Israel Defeated by England After Reaching First European Under-19 Soccer Finals
Israel’s under-19 men’s soccer team lost 3-1 to England on Friday night in the Jewish state’s first-ever appearance in the finals of the UEFA Under-19 European Championship, held in Trnava, Slovakia.
The Israeli youth soccer team took a lead 40 minutes into the match with a goal from Oscar Gloukh, but England sent the game into extra time after a second-half equalizer, before securing victory on goals from Carney Chukwuemeka and Aaron Ramsey. It was England’s second UEFA U-19 European Championship title.
Ahead of the match Friday, Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid tweeted that he called the team’s coach Ofir Haim to wish the Israeli athletes good luck. “The whole nation of Israel is standing behind you,” he told Haim. “You are a huge pride for the people of Israel and the State of Israel. You have already proved that you are champions, now go and see it for the whole world. We love you.”
Haim said post-game that his team performed “heroic” soccer in the first half of the finals match, The Times of Israel reported. He also noted that there were several times throughout the game “when we came so close to 2-0, and then the cup would have been ours.”
“I am so proud of these boys,” he added. “Israeli soccer has a rosy future … I don’t know if they’ll make it to another European final, but they will reach great heights in their careers.”
The team made history by qualifying for the championship’s semi-finals, becoming the first Israeli squad to advance to that stage in the UEFA competition. The team moved on to the finals after defeating France 2-1 in the semi-finals.
Israel’s advancement to the semi-finals also secured a spot in next year’s FIFA U-20 World Cup tournament, set to be held in Indonesia.