Huge surprise! Historic junior Israel. His first Euro final and World Cup qualifier in half a century!

Article by Beno David – Published on Wednesday, June 29, 2022, 15:08 / Updated on Wednesday, June 29, 2022 16:24

Israel’s coach, Ofir Haim, is at the peak of his happiness, after his team defeated France 2-1 in the EC U19 semifinals: “I am on the roof of the world”. And warns England, the rival in the last act: “We are fighting for the trophy”.

In Tel Aviv, there is an unprecedented frenzy for a junior team. The U19 national team has just qualified for the first time in the Euro final, as no other Israeli team has managed, with the tickets for the 2023 U20 World Cup (Indonesia), a World Cup expected for over half a century here. Since 1970, when the senior team played in the final tournament in Mexico.


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The most important Israeli newspaper on the cover: “True Juniors”

Yedioth Ahronoth, the most important local daily, came out today on the front page, up in the opening, with this performance: “Real juniors! Historic victory, 2-1 against France “. Very rarely catch the football cover YA!

And the presence of the white-blues at the competition in Slovakia was seen as a big surprise, after they had won the elite series, surpassing Hungary, Scotland and Turkey. Amazingly, Spain, Germany and Portugal had no formation in the Euro, but Israel was there. And what he has achieved is beyond imagination.

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The selector, excellent motivator, good tactician

For the whole world, it seems incredible, except for the selector Ofir Haim, 47 years old, former striker at Hapoel Beer Sheva and Maccabi Tel Aviv, among other clubs. He announced when CE 2022 was approaching that his team could strike. The secret, in his opinion, “not only talented players, but also very ambitious. They can fight on an equal footing with anyone. “

Haim is an excellent motivator and knows how to put his ideal tactical. In a 4-2-1-3 system, with 18-year-old Gloukh decaring behind an offensive trident. Focusing on open play, as in his football career.

Revenge with England in the final

Less than two weeks before the Euro, the white-blues prepared right against France, in two friendly matches concluded identically, 1-1. The coach told the boys then: “You are very good. If you follow the tactical advice, we can be the revelation of the tournament “. That’s exactly what happened.

  • 2-2 at the start with Serbia, which he led until the 90 + 3 minute. They were disappointed, but Haim encouraged them: “If you continue like this, it is impossible not to catch at least the 3rd place and the dam for the World Cup.
  • 4-2 with Austria gave them confidence. And 0-1 with England did not bring them down. The second position in the group, after Albion, was secured.
  • 2-1 in the semifinals against France. They were not scared of the blues, who had three successes in three games: 5-0 with Slovakia, 2-1 with Romania, 4-1 with Italy. They led the “roosters” 2-0 and, even if they gave up once, they won and are in the final. Revenge with England, on Friday, in Trnava. “I don’t like to lose twice in front of the same opponent,” said the coach.

I haven’t slept at night in a long time. I think every moment just how to make these boys better, individually and as a team. I hope you can see that we are a big family and we play with our hearts.

Ofir Haim, Israel U19 coach

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The star is number 10

Haim has several valuable players. Gloukh (18 years old), number 10, Maccabi Tel Aviv’s left-hander who plays the whole game, being already watched by Serie A clubs. Abed (17), the right wing from PSV Eindhoven, is brilliant. In the center of the field, Captain Madmon (19), the metronome of Bnei Yehuda. Left-back Revivo (19, Maccabi TA), the boy of the famous Israeli international, also impresses, as do the stopovers Israelov (17) and Lemkin (19), both from Hapoel TA.

The technician is excited. “I am on the roof of the world, no one is happier than me now. I feel like David in front of Goliath! ”Exclaimed the exuberant Haim, warning the English:“ We are fighting for the trophy ”.

5 playersfrom group U19 are from Maccabi Tel Aviv, most (four from Hapoel TA)

Before the match with France, I reminded the players of the story of David and Goliath. Against France, I knew exactly what we had to do. I love them all and I am very proud of them. Talented, without an exacerbated ego. A united team.

– Ofir Haim, Israel U19 coach

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