The right pass is taught to you in football school, maybe also the way to butt. You only discover the full kick after moving from ninths to a big pitch. There you also learn to play sets, you start learning how to move without the ball, how to go from 2-4-4 to 3-3-4 on the move. At some point you learn to press, close, overtake and cross. Football can be learned from nothing. Talent alone will not be enough in life, you also need tactical standing, understand the game, control it. Only one thing cannot be learned: winning. With that character you are born, and if you are lucky, you will have the right coach to shape it for you.
Ofir Haim is like that, a winner in all his limbs. Life taught him to cope and win. His story is difficult, but like him there is a lot in Israel, in the world in general. Few people manage both to win in their life and to win in their job, it is difficult to maneuver. And not only to win he knows, but to make a lot of people win, an entire nation.
Ofir Haim taught Israeli football forever. This is no longer a coincidence, the result of one successful tournament (the Youth Euro in Slovakia) and one superstar (Oskar Gloch) that is no longer relevant to the national team. An Israeli team gets hit in the last minute of the half, its player gets two yellows in 7 minutes - so far we know the material - and from here it manages to equalize and win in the 92nd minute, which on the way it gathers all the clichés, increases luck, and character, and oxygen in the lungs and advances to the eighth World Cup final.
Leaving eighth, it finishes group stage among the top 12 in the world. This is not taught in Israeli football, it is taught by Professor Ofir Haim at the Faculty of Life Sciences. Bonnie Ginzburg said yesterday after the game that no one believed this was how the game would end, except for one: Ofir Haim.
Winner in all his limbs. Ofir Haim (Photo by Getty Images, ANDRES LARROVERE/AFP)
The group stage will fool us. Playing against teams from three unfamiliar continents is a challenge. Third in South America, third in Asia, champion of Africa. Being a European Vice-Champion is meaningless at this age. The one-time success further reduces this.
Against Colombia, Israel looked like it did in most phases of the game. Comptic football, touching, moving, coordinating that explained to us why this is a well-trained team. We lost because Colombia had better replacements. Against Senegal the team played just badly. The conditions of the pitch – the pitch at La Plata deteriorates daily to the level of a YMCA in its rainy days – were unfavorable. She led but again surrendered to a better replacement. Japan was the most impressive team Israel encountered, but Israel had better replacements this time, and in general, physical fitness was decisive. Third game in six days and it was the Japanese who collapsed. The talk in recent days has been that the Israeli team lacks physical fitness, yesterday it turned out that the heart is the right pump. There is no such thing as lack of physical fitness for European players at the end of May. Forget the clichés shaped in the 53 years we haven't played in the World Cup. When you want to, you win. If these players had gotten more credit in the first teams, we wouldn't have had to win until the 92nd minute.
Yesterday's game took us back to the merry days of Asia and Oceania, partly because of the exotic hour, one when we once stayed awake against South Korea or Australia. For 25 years, football has roamed these areas, often encountering agile and short players, or mentally tough players. Sometimes it was more successful - because of the technique and physical advantage - and sometimes it was less successful - because the opponent had more than that.
Japan is the prime example of improvement in world football. A country that has perfected electronics for the world also knows how to promote itself in areas in which it did not excel. Japan plays coordinated as if it's an artificial intelligence team, as if it's a team that trains twice a day, every day, as if these players were born to be national team players. Still, even after Japan won the bronze medal at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, and in its 11th appearance at the World Cup, Israel still beats it in every game. It just means what the potential is here, and what would have happened if the Japanese experts – and certainly other foreigners – who shaped national team football in their countries had shaped football here, imagine where we would be.
On Tuesday night - again during Asian hours - Israel will play against the Asian champions, Uzbekistan. Think about progressive Asian football, Soviet orientation and Tatar character and you get everything in one team. Israel gets a mixture of Iran and Australia, two teams that made our lives miserable in the past. And this is literally another two days, there is no time to recover, the muscles already speak Uzbek. It's good that there are people in the team who believe that this can also be done.
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More on the achievement of the youth team
Watch the recap: Israel advanced to the eighth final with a dramatic 1-2 win against Japan
Ofir Haim celebrated at the end: "A heroic victory, we are not afraid of any team""Israel barely made it past the half, and then the miracle came": The soccer world reacts
"Believe it": The briefing that led to "one of the greatest achievements in Israeli football""The show of the peak of emotion"
: This is what the broadcast team looks like at the dramatic victory gate
Imagine where we would be if we were in Japan's shoes (Photo by Getty Images, ANDRES LARROVERE/AFP)
The youth team is playing in Argentina without Oscar Gluch and Idan Tocalomati. There is all sorts of speculation about Gloch's absence from the national team, but even if Salzburg had released him, he would not have made it to Argentina. After the fiasco that took place in the past with Manor Solomon that would move between three teams, the IFA decided to focus young players on two teams. So Alon Hazan will use him against Belarus and from Hungary he will continue to Georgia to join the young team at the European Championship. Tucalomati was waived because he has a strain that causes injuries, and will only take him to the junior team. Yes, it's true: Tocalomati's boss is the uncle of the national team coach, but that's not the story. There are players from the junior who will join the senior and from the youth to the youngest. The
of the approach are that if you are talented, there is no age threshold that you have to pass in order to play for the seniors, even in the senior team. In Israel, they took it all the way. Players skip teams. In Europe, they are cooked slowly. The reason is simple: some teams come to every major tournament, there are enough frameworks. Israel doesn't get anything, so they jump the reserves.
The thing is that this month and next month there are three super frameworks: the World Youth Championship, the European Championship for young teams (which is also the qualifiers for the World Championship for young teams - the Olympics) and the European Senior Championship qualifiers. Each frame is a supporting frame for the player's advancement, there is no need to move between one and the other, certainly not to skip stairs, because it is possible to fall. Every youth coach knows that the player is taken to the seniors. In any corrected place, the player is taken to the graduates not to be used as a training player, but to play significantly. Tocalomati and Gluch were born in 2004, they could have played in the youth team that failed two months ago to qualify for the European Championship, they could have played in the World Cup, they could also play in two more European championships for young teams and they could reach the more mature senior team by the way. With Gluch and Tocalomatti, the youth team could dream of a medal.
Standard of a classic wide striker. Turgeman (Photo by Getty Images, Marcio Machado/Eurasia Sport Images)
And finally, at the end, each youth team is tested not by its titles but by the number of players it will provide to the seniors, and in this team you can identify how many talents, and how many super talents that are worth composing the team over time.
The heel of Dor Turgeman, who cooked the victory goal for Omer Senior, is the standard of a classic wide striker. Yes, it's hard for him, he doesn't have a super technique, but he's a trouble for any opponent's defense. If they let Eli Madmon and Ariel Lugasi play, we will remember that there was once a morality here for calling him Eyal Berkowitz. Roy Revivo is the team's next left-back, what we were looking for in Taleb Tawatha and Doron Leidner and what we find in Revivo: technique and strength. It's the right shield.
But above all, Autumn Lemkin.
Yes, we conceded two goals twice, goals that bring down a team, once it was under his nose, yesterday it wasn't. Still, his amount of rescues and ability to put a body in the right place forgets the fact that he's only 20 years old. A team-level defender is not only the one who will reach every high ball, and put his body to save a goal. A team-level defender must know how to give the right depth pass in order to bring a team out for a transition attack, know how to play in the opponent's area and not just in his own area. The legendary Zvika Rosen started the goal scored by Motella Spiegler in the 1970 World Cup. He ran half court with the ball and from there the three teeth touched him. Lemkin did it yesterday, a few minutes after leaving Ahmed Salman in front of the goalkeeper with an ingenious pass. A monster brake grew up here.
There is a future. Lemkin (Photo by Getty Images, ANDRES LARROVERE/AFP)
And something else has grown up here: a national team coach. "How did Ofir Haim not succeed like that in the group?" Ask yesterday. The answer is simple: Some coaches are born to coach teams and some coaches are born to coach national teams. These are two different types of coaches. Barak Bachar is a team coach, Dror Kashtan was a team coach, Alon Hazan is a national team coach, Ofir Haim will be the next national team coach.
- Israeli football
- Israeli national teams
- Youth team
- Ofir Haim