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Israel youth soccer squad defeats Ireland to win spot in European championships

Under-21 team beats Irish 3-1 in shootout to make it to tournament for only the 3rd time; victory marred by coach slapping player

Israeli youth soccer players celebrate a victory over Ireland in Tel Aviv, September 27, 2022. (Screenshot, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Israeli youth soccer players celebrate a victory over Ireland in Tel Aviv, September 27, 2022. (Screenshot, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

An Israeli national youth soccer team qualified for the under-21 European Championships by beating Ireland in a shootout in Tel Aviv on Tuesday.

The victory marks the third time in history the Israeli men’s team will participate in the championships, after qualifying in 2007 and hosting the tournament in 2013.

After neither side scored a goal during the 120 minutes of regular playing time, Israel’s team managed to overcome the Irish squad 3-1 in a shootout at Bloomfield Stadium.

Ireland’s Conor Coventry scored the night’s first goal and Ireland’s sole point in the match. Aden Kartsev then scored Israel’s first goal.

Israeli goalkeeper Daniel Peretz, who blocked three attempts to score by the opponents and also scored Israel’s second goal of the night, was key to the team’s success.

Osher Davida scored the final point for Israel, clinching Israel’s victory.

Israel Professional Football Leagues chairman Erez Kalfon congratulated the team on their effort in the “exciting and tense game.”

“You have once again proven that spirit, courage, and a lot of faith will take Israeli football forward,” he said.

The championships will take place next summer in Georgia and Romania.

Marring the victory for Israel, coach Guy Luzon slapped player Ziv Morgan during the game.

Video showed Luzon arguing with the player, then striking his left cheek and wagging a figure at him.

Asked about the incident after the game, Luzon played it down.

“A slap? That was just a pat. When I give a slap, you feel it,” he said. “Everything’s out of love. My slaps are for real. What I gave Morgan was just a pat.”

Leading Israeli politicians including Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz congratulated the team.

“They might be young, but every one of them is a champion,” Gantz said.

In June, Israel’s under-19 men’s soccer team was defeated 3-1 by England in the country’s first-ever European soccer final. Israel had advanced to the final by defeating France 2-1 in the semifinals in a major upset.

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