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Born for it: The youth team fulfills everything it dreamed of Israel today


Israel up to the age of 19 will win or lose tonight in Trnava in the European Championship final against England, but future generations in Israeli football will live with the feeling that achievements are possible • Bonnie Ginzburg: "Ofir Haim knows how to reach the players' minds" • The coach says: "Young people are great. Enjoy listening, learning "

The extent to which Israel's youth team, which qualified for the European Championship finals, is a change, is evidenced by the press conference of English coach Ian Foster.

"The Israeli team is very English," he says.

Foster talks about the organization, about the very difficult set-up to break into, and uses the phrase "Industrious", which in free translation means not only a team that works hard - but one that likes to work hard.

And that's a compliment to the team's engine room, where there are two whose story is almost improbable.

Captain Eli Madmon was born a farmer and comes from a family of farmers from the Gaza Strip.

El-Yam Kanzapolsky, as his name suggests, was born a surfer - a legendary surfer grandfather, the father of a European vice-champion and he himself was born in Hawaii.

So a surfer and a moshavnik dismantled the French link, and tonight they will try to stop the English one as well.

When their friends run them in "Rondoz", in the steamy heat that prevailed yesterday in the amazing training complex of Slovak sports in Shamorin, you see something of this joy.

Madmon has one more problem left to solve.

He usually sends messages to the national team ("without the players" from the city of Ofir Haim) the night before the game.

And before the game he will probably speak.

Haven't thought of the wording yet.

"It will come from the heart."

When the poster is told that the Israeli prime minister (and Israel only had two this week) called to congratulate his team - he says it does not happen in England, but Gareth Southgate, the national coach, certainly spoke to them and reminded them that there is no separation between the England teams at St. George's '.

The steamy heat that prevailed in the semi-final against Italy is, for example, a good preparation for the 2026 World Cup, which, among other things, will also take place in Mexico, in which some of these players may participate.

Ian Foster.

"The Israeli team is very English," Photo: UEFA, official website

"Apart from Jude Blingham from Dortmund (who already plays for the senior team, RD), these are the best players England have to offer.

Foster got every player he asked for, "says Henry Winter of the Times.

You know, your players probably want to win one day in the World Cup, in the Euros or in the Champions League - Israeli players will be legendary if they win one game tonight.

Maybe there will be a gap in the meaning of the game for the national teams?

"Look, we are not winning enough in these tournaments. They are very, very important to us."

Team captain Harvey Weil, who has made five appearances for the Chelsea seniors, says it's the biggest game of his career.

That he receives a great deal of encouragement from his club, and also adds that he does not attach any significance to the victory at an early stage because "Israel already knew it had risen."

And they also received from the research department the instructions for penalties.

No one underestimates Israel.

She's ahead of her time

I ask Bonnie Ginzburg, today the assistant of Yila Jose, the Dutch technical director of the young teams, why Ofir Haim.

Why the good-but-not-legendary footballer, and whoever has not really picked up his coaching career at the clubs, will tonight be the first Israeli coach since Emanuel Sheffer to play a significant final game.

"In the end, he knows how to reach the souls of the players. We in the association have given this team 20 training games. Each of them is a journey and a joint stay, and you have a team here that has formed."

The cohesive team of Ofir Haim, Photo: UEFA, official website

Ophir Haim lovingly accepts the "Englishness" compliment of his English colleague.

'He's a real friend.

We met before the tournament and talked a bit.

I have a huge extension for what he does.

The English team is the best here.

He told me I wish we could go to the semi-finals together, and here we meet again. '

The wings are a bit of a nuisance to Haim.

He is undecided on one wing, but Ahmed Salman from Hapoel Jerusalem will certainly open. 

Haim once met Emanuel Sheffer, the last Israeli coach to coach an Israeli team in the final, in 1965 against Burma in Tokyo.

Too many years have passed without such an achievement.

You had a mixed career with teams.

Is coaching young people now your vocation?

I believe I would have come to my place eventually with my truth also through clubs.

But young people it's great.

They enjoy listening, learning.

Ofir Haim.

The dream has already come true, Photo: UEFA, official website

"This team is a bit of a mishap," Ginzburg laughs.

The truth is that it is a bit ahead of its time in terms of technical staff, and it is not yet part of the current academic program.

But game sets and a regular method are of course not the most important currency in sports, but security.

Israel will win or lose tonight in Trnava, but future generations in Israeli football will live with the feeling that achievements are possible.

That they are also intended for Israel.

Israel will not leave Slovakia at the level of Spain or England, but it may finally be among the countries that in the days of the Euro or World Cup we read about their project being successful.

Were we wrong?


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Source: israelhayom

All sports articles on 2022-07-01

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