search

Israel national youth soccer team upsets France to reach historic 1st European final

Will take on England in Friday’s final; achievement also means team will compete in Indonesia next year at under-20 World Cup

Israeli players celebrate a goal during the UEFA Under-19 European Championship semi-final football match between France and Irsael at the DAC Arena in Dunajska Streda, Slovakia on June 28, 2022. (VLADIMIR SIMICEK / AFP)
Israeli players celebrate a goal during the UEFA Under-19 European Championship semi-final football match between France and Irsael at the DAC Arena in Dunajska Streda, Slovakia on June 28, 2022. (VLADIMIR SIMICEK / AFP)

Israel’s under-19 men’s soccer team has reached the country’s first-ever European soccer final, defeating France in the semifinals of the UEFA under-19 championships by a score of 2-1 on Tuesday at the DAC Arena in Dunajska Streda, Slovakia.

The Israeli team will now face England in the final match on Friday evening in Trnava, Slovakia.

As the final whistle blew, the Israeli TV commentator at the game called the victory “one of the greatest achievements in the history of Israeli sport.”

The national youth soccer team had already made history on Saturday night by qualifying for the semifinals, the furthest an Israeli squad had ever advanced in the competition.

Both Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid congratulated the team Tuesday with celebratory posts on Twitter. Bennett said he was “proud of [Israel’s] youth team that made history and qualified for the Euro finals!”

“We have a young, wonderful and inspiring generation that brings us joy in all areas,” wrote the premier.

Tactical maneuvering in the 30th minute of the game by forward Ariel Lugasi and midfielder Oscar Gloukh led to the French team scoring an own goal, giving the Israeli team a 1-0 advantage. In the 57th minute, midfielder El Yam Kancepolsky took Israel’s score to 2-0 with a “lethal header“. France then scored its first goal in the game but didn’t recover.

“It is impossible to overstate the importance of the history just made by the Israeli national youth team,” declared veteran Haaretz sports correspondent Ido Rokovsky.

“If the achievement of qualifying for the Youth World Cup was impressive, then advancing to the finals of the tournament already requires a new word in Hebrew,” Rokovsky added.

The achievement also came with a ticket to participate in the FIFA U-20 (under-20) World Cup tournament, which is set to be held next year in Indonesia.

read more:

We have a new, improved comments system. To comment, simply register or sign in.

Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed