Israeli Soccer Team Loses Its First Ever Game in FIFA U-20 World Cup in Argentina
by Shiryn Ghermezian
Israel’s first-ever match in the 2023 FIFA Under-20 World Cup ended on Sunday in Argentina with it losing 1-2 to Columbia, who scored a late win.
Israel completed its goal after half-time when Dor Turgeman made a penalty spot in the 57th minute. Colombia responded with a penalty shot from Oscar Cortez in the 74th minute followed by a second goal by Gustavo Puerta, who helped his team win the game in the 90th minute. Ofir Haim, the coach of the Israeli team, said his players were up against an “excellent team with talented players who will be talked about around the world,” The Times of Israel reported.
The Israel vs Colombia match took place at Diego Maradona Stadium on the first day of Group C games as part of the FIFA tournament. The top two teams from each group will move on to the next stage of the tournament.
Israel’s next game will be on Wednesday against Senegal and then they will compete against Japan on Saturday. A total of 24 national teams are competing in the U-20 World Cup, which is taking place in four venues across Argentina from May 20 until 11 June.
Argentina replaced Indonesia as host and participant in the U-20 World Cup shortly before the tournament was about to start. FIFA stripped Indonesia of hosting rights following protests in the Muslim-majority country against Israel’s participation in the competition and after the governor of Bali said he would not allow the Israeli team on his island. Indonesia has no diplomatic relations with Israel, refuses to recognize the Jewish state and is an avid supporter of the Palestinian cause.