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Between Mexico 1970 and Argentina 2023: Israel waits for Uruguay to settle scores | Israel Hayom


Highlights: Israel's senior team lost 2:0 to Uruguay in the first and only official match between the two teams. The match took place on June 2, 1970, shortly after Israel celebrated its 22nd Independence Day. In the world's most popular sport, Israel was one of only 16 countries that anyone who loved football envied. Israel and Uruguay will meet in the semi-finals of the World Cup on Friday. The final will be held in Rio de Janeiro on July 14 and 15. For more information on the 2014 World Cup visit

Mentioning Motella Spiegler and Dor Turgeman in one breath is a bit of an exaggeration • To be equally excited about the semi-finals of the World Cup and the debut of the senior Israeli team at the World Cup – it is perfectly permissible • In both cases the biggest rival is Uruguay, only this time we will hope for the opposite result from the first and only official meeting between the two teams

This was the moment when little Israel made history. The soccer team took center stage for the first time in its history for its first World Cup match. She may have lost to a South American team after conceding twice, but every home in the country was filled with pride.

True, the statistics are reminiscent of Ofir Haim's youth team (the 2:1 loss to Colombia), but the reference is to June 2, 1970, when Emanuel Sheffer's senior Israeli team met Uruguay for the first time and for the only time in an official match - and surrendered 2:0.

Many remember mainly the two games that followed: 1:1 against Sweden with Motle Spiegler's legendary goal and 0:0 Heroic against the great Italy (twice world champions until then), who will finish this tournament as runners-up of the world champions.

However, these two performances, respectable as they may be, cannot detract from the importance of the opening game, despite ending in defeat. Something about its primacy, the excitement, the pristine opening minutes, shortly after the young country celebrated its 22nd Independence Day overall, gives those 90 minutes an unparalleled status. In the world's most popular sport, Israel was one of only 16 countries that anyone who loved football envied.

Israel national team for the 1970 FIFA World Cup. A host of memories, photo: AFP

It was 16 p.m., host Mexico time. A total of 00,20 spectators rocked the Quatemoc Stadium in Puebla. Scottish referee Bobby Davidson blew the opening whistle, and surely increased the heart rate of each of the 654 wonderful Israeli teams that came up in a classic formation for those days – 11:4:4.

Goalkeeper Yitzhak Visuker knew from the first moment that most of the game would move in his direction, and together with the four defenders – Joshua Schwager, David Primo, Danny Rom and Zvi Rosen – stood for 23 minutes against the already two-time world champion.

It was striker Ildo Maneiro who put Uruguay ahead in this tournament, who will only be stopped in the semi-finals by the eventual world champions, Brazil. Five minutes into the second half, defender Juan Mujica doubled the advantage and set up the outcome of the game, which did not detract from the patriotic experience.

It would not be fair to compare the stars of the team that is driving everyone crazy on Argentine soil these days to names like Giora Spiegel, Shmulik Rosenthal, Yitzhak Shum, Shia Feigenbaum and of course Spiegler.

However, just before Dor Turgeman, Anan Halaili, El Yam Kanzpolsky, Ilai Feingold and the rest of their great friends meet Uruguay in the semi-finals of the World Cup, it is worth thinking back 53 years, to that day in June 1970 – perhaps it will make the second official meeting between the two countries on the soccer field end differently.

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Dor Turgeman. That only the second encounter in history against Uruguay will end differently,

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Source: israelhayom

All sports articles on 2023-06-07

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