Ticked: Sports Events Summary Clip, May 29 (Sports5)
The final whistle of the national under-20 team's match against Japan in Mendoza will probably not be forgotten for the rest of their lives. The madness that enveloped the pitch in western Argentina was well felt and the blue and white went into great ecstasy. "There is no doubt that there were crazy celebrations in those moments, this is probably the peak moment for most of us," stated a player on the national team, "the feeling was a feeling of euphoria." If anyone thought that the euphoria would last for a few days, it was that the current team was drawn from a different material, one that perhaps causes the current team to reach heights that no Israeli soccer team has reached before.
Already on the following day, some of the players may have hoped to get a day off and be with their families who are also in Argentina and are following what is happening closely, but the professional staff did not even consider the matter and made it clear to the players that everything was going as usual. The players' freedom was not granted, the families continued to be cut off from the national team itself, and training was conducted exactly the same way they had until then. "There is an organized plan and we will not deviate from it, no matter what," the team explained, "in the end we came to the tournament in order to succeed, the fact that we met the task is not a reason to let go of restraints."
Leave the game against Japan behind. The national team's players celebrate reaching the final eight (Photo: official website, Israel Football Association)
If success wasn't enough, the team also enjoyed a move to a luxurious training complex. If in the first days in Argentina the team wandered between different training complexes in and around Buenos Aires due to poor conditions, the move to Mendoza upgraded the team in terms of conditions as well. The national team says that this is a very impressive facility, but a look at the training itself reveals that Ofir Haim focuses mainly on the recovery of the players and tactical preparation. "In a tournament like this, there aren't really any training sessions that create load," explains another team source, "the training is mainly about recovering and preparing the team for the next game."
In recent days, Ofir Haim has been working on analyzing as much as possible the Uzbek team, the team's opponent in tonight's game (Tuesday-Wednesday, 00:00) in the eighth of the World Cup finals. Haim twice held a meeting with the players about the opponent, and the title of Haim's words is that this is a strong, very physical and purposeful team. "Uzbekistan is a real team, not sophisticated," one of the players testified after the meetings, "we saw that it really is an excellent team."
More in Walla!
How Can Catheterization Help Prevent Critical Medical Events?
In collaboration with Shahal
Leading a team that winks at different material. Ofir Haim (Photo: Reuters)
If Israelis are used to euphoria on the one hand and fear on the other, it seems that Haim's group really winks at another material. While there is no euphoria, there is also no fear of the other side. "Why should we be afraid?" one player wondered, "we believe in ourselves, we know our qualities, we will come to play as we know and hopefully it will be enough."
Yesterday, perhaps to calm the players down a bit and relieve the pressure, Haim agreed to break a routine but in a controlled manner. The entire team (except for players who wanted to stay and rest at the hotel) went together to a local mall and it was evident that despite the achievements and buzz in Israel, Argentina still did not get to know Dor Turgeman, Roy Revivo, Thai Abed and the other friends who walked around completely anonymous. After 20 hours they returned to the hotel for the rest of their routine.
Tonight, as we know, the national team will try to register another achievement and be part of the eight best teams in the world under the age of <>. "If in the previous game there were quite a few who stayed awake in Israel, now there will be more," the team said, "it puts more responsibility on us but we will do everything to meet expectations this time as well."
- Israeli football
- Israeli national teams
- Youth team