Less than a day after losing to Uruguay in the semifinals of the FIFA U-20 World Championship, professional director Bonnie Ginzburg stood up to summarize the Israeli team's journey.
"We're really very proud of what we've done and what I hope we continue to do here in the tournament. We feel the tremendous embrace from the country and the involvement of so many citizens in this celebration."
Bonnie took the opportunity to thank the staff and tried to explain the reasons that led this team to the record achievement of an Israeli team in an international tournament.
"This is a very cohesive team," Ginsburg clarified; "She started this process two years ago. This is a team with a talented yearbook, a coach who knew how to instill the principles that will be attached to the DNA of our football and this is reflected on the field.
"There's no doubt that when we look at the amount of games this team has collected, close to 40 games, it's something that gives them the experience in the process. We want them to be senior players, because at the end of the day the entire pyramid base is supposed to serve the senior team. She's the jewel in the crown."
Players of the youth team. Now is the time to succeed in graduates, photo: AFP
One of the main issues raised at the press conference was the release of five players (Stav Lemkin, Or Israelov, Roy Revivo, Tomer Sarfati and Dor Turgeman) to the young team (Revivo also to the senior team). Bonney was asked what message this release sends to the remaining players ahead of the final game against South Korea for third place on Sunday.
"There is complexity here," replied the professional director; "There are international windows. A senior national team window and a Euro Under-21 window and we need to take care of that on the fly. I'm in touch with Yossi Benayoun and the coach of the young national team all the time.
"Since our pool of players is small, the process here is unusual. There are usually teams for every age, for example in England and Germany, but with us it's different. In terms of the hierarchy, there is a senior, a young woman, a youth, and the players should and should take this route."
Lemkin. It would have been left if the youth had made it to the final, Photo: AP
When asked how the released players received the news, Bonney clarified: "Nothing happened here with a pull from the hip. Any combination of players was expected, in principle we knew exactly how we planned their playing minutes. We knew how to prevent injuries, we knew the tournament would do well for players who didn't get a lot of playing minutes this season.
"We knew how to protect Lemkin and Israelov with GPS decoding, we didn't want to expose them to injuries. We knew that if we didn't make it to the final, we would let these players go. There are at least six days of jet lag and acclimatization, and the young woman's task comes in a few more days.
"If we had made it to the final, we would have taken the risk and kept them. Ofir Haim knew about it. It wasn't a surprise. We trust the players who stay."
Ofir Haim. True to the editorial decision, photo: AP
Ofir Haim also responded to reports that the decision to release the players was made badly when he wrote on his Instagram account; "Following the media reports: I am 100 percent at peace with the decision, I share the decision and welcome it.
"There is nothing prouder than me to be part of the development and promotion of young young players. I trust the players who remain, and I believe in them very much. And together with them and my amazing team, we will continue the fight for third place and the medal."
From Ginsburg's words, it is clear that everything that has happened since the loss to Uruguay was planned and coordinated in advance. "Nothing was pulled from the hip," he clarifies; "The players responded in the best and most businesslike way. They knew, I talked to them all the time. Maybe they weren't informed that it was right at the end of the game, but they knew they were assigned an important role in the young woman."
Bonney sums it up: "If there was someone who said he didn't want to leave, I wouldn't take a player who didn't understand the importance of the event and the importance of his development. Everyone is looking forward to the Euro tournament because they understand what we understand. I want the talented players to get out as quickly as possible, that way it will benefit the senior team."
On the future of these players, Bonney said: "I believe they will continue to conduct themselves as professionally as possible. Everyone needs rest, but I believe that after that they will return to the teams and teams and try to continue in the same way. I would be very happy if it motivated them to try to recreate this thing."
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