The hype surrounding Israel's under-20 team in Argentina continues. The sensational victory over the Brazilians (2:3) and the promotion to the semi-finals of the World Championship causes great excitement, which is clearly heard in the voices of the players responsible for the success.
"It's my first goal for the national team, and what I feel in my body is indescribable," said Hamza Shibli, the striker who scored the second equaliser in extra-time on Saturday. "After the game I went into the locker room and asked my friends: 'What, are we at halftime? Did I put a goal? Played? I was just in the blackout."
Ofir Haim. Getting big credit from the players, photo: Reuters
Shively continued: "I couldn't believe the bullet had reached me. I had such a situation against Uzbekistan or Japan, which did not go in. Ofir Haim told me in training where to stand, improved me and this time I went with the right foot."
On his ambitions for the future, the striker added: "It's not just me, it was the goal of all of us even before we flew here, to reach the final, maybe win, and we're on the right track. Just have to keep going. We just want to make the country happy and thank God we did it."
Shibli admits that the team feels at home, thanks to the local crowd, and pokes fun at the Brazilians: "There was talk about them belittling us, but we didn't pay attention to it. We did the job and we won."
"It's the character of the staff, the players. Ofir talks to us before the games to play until the end. We fell behind a few times and always came back," Shively summarized the main story surrounding the team.
Hamza Shibli. Silencing Brazilians, Photo: AP
Or Israelov was also excited: "We got two easy goals, but we came back and went up in half. We did tactical training for Brazil, preparation for each of their players and we came prepared. We left everything on the pitch, we came focused, we gave our hearts, and now we go all the way."
"The Brazilians went onto the pitch as if they were looking at us, but Ofir told us to go in strong, aggressive and we did it because of character," Israelov clarified the feelings in the team in light of the Brazilian arrogance.
On entering the final stretch, after the elimination of a favorite team like Brazil, Israelov said: "We are strong and believe, even though no one counts us. Israel is a team with heart and soul and I'm glad we've taken it to another level. I admit, we believed, but we didn't think we'd get that far."
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