El Yam Kanzpolsky Israel National Team (Shlomo Weiss)
A big disappointment for the Israeli national team after Thursday night's loss in the World Cup semifinals to Uruguay, a loss that ended the dream of winning the World Cup - an achievement that no one dreamed of before the tournament began. The team believed all along and even before the game there was a feeling that it could be done, but in the end Ofir Haim's players surrendered to the South American opponent who received massive encouragement in the stands. At the end of the game, most of the players remained for minutes sprawled on the pitch, with Dor Turgeman receiving massive encouragement from Uruguay's players and then taking the time to comfort Hamza Shibli, who was also crushed.
The team also cheered on Omar Senior, who missed a situation in the final minutes that should have ended in a goal. The team also rejected criticism heard on social media about Dor Turgeman for not fighting after the team lost a ball in the middle of the field in a move that led to Uruguay's goal. "We were constantly asked what the secret of this team's magic was, so that's the secret of the magic, that we're not looking for blame." A team source added: "Dor gave a dream tournament and all the countries that were in the tournament talk about it, Senior gave us the goal against Japan without which we fly at home so we are not looking for blame, we are one team for better or worse."
Despite the disappointment in the request, the team understands the magnitude of the achievement they have recorded: "We are very proud of ourselves," said another player, "now obviously the disappointment is great, but looking back we will understand what a huge achievement we have achieved in this tournament."
Watch the game summary courtesy of Kan Broadcasting Corporation
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"The secret of the team's magic is that you don't look for blame." Dor Turgeman last night (Photo: Getty Images, Eurasia Sport Images)
As for Eli Madmon and his protest after he was replaced, the team does not intend to take disciplinary action against the captain, who has shown excellent ability throughout the tournament. Another player who excelled was Roy Revivo, who after the game was informed that he would join the senior squad for its Euro qualifying matches and is expected to replace the injured Doron Leidner. Revivo, who received support in the stands from Father Chaim, received compliments from a few professionals within the team and also from scouts who marked the player and put him in the notebooks in order to follow him continuously.
The team noted that the silence in the dressing room indicated more than anything else the severe disappointment. About an hour after the final whistle, the players arrived at the hotel in La Plata, where some of the players' families were waiting, who tried to comfort them, but it was clear to everyone that the feelings were very difficult. "We really believed we could win the cup," said a national team player, "so obviously we're crushed, it's a terrible feeling. Unfortunately we experienced it in the Euro final and now we have experienced it again."
Already part of the senior squad. Roy Revivo (Photo by Getty Images, JUAN MABROMATA/AFP)
Despite this loss, coach Ofir Haim will make it clear to his players that as far as he is concerned, the tournament is not over and he expects them to finish third and beat South Korea in Sunday's game. The team will arrive in a very lacklustre lineup, and as a result, Hadar Fuchs, who is the only outfielder who has not recorded a minute so far in the tournament, is expected to start alongside Sean Adari in the center of defence. Noam Ben-Harush is also expected to start in the lineup when the national team does not have a natural left defender in Revivo's place and the coach will have to decide whether he improvises with a winger or whether he places Feingold as a left back and puts Ben Harush in the right defensive position.
Ahmed Salman may be given a place in Dor Turgeman's place, while one of the two co-goalkeepers, Ofek Malika or Nitai Grace will also get first minutes of the tournament in place of Tomer Sarfati. Despite the shortcomings, the team does not intend to use excuses and is convinced that it will be possible to finish in third place in the tournament.
"We have a team here with a deep and equal squad and it has already been proven," the team said, "obviously the shortcomings are significant but we will come to win." The national team is aware that unlike the game against Uruguay, the South Korean team will not have a majority in the stands and hopes that despite losing in the semifinals, the fans who came to support the team yesterday will also come to the game on Sunday. Among the players, they noted that despite Uruguay's quantitative advantage in the stands, they heard the Israeli encouragement very well, and at the end thousands of Israeli fans waited in the stands for many minutes to thank the players who came to the stand behind the southern gate where most of Israel's fans gathered and received loud applause from the fans.
Wouldn't have missed if it weren't for the surface conditions? Omar Senior (Photo by Getty Images, Luis ROBAYO/AFP)
Haim's team was careful throughout the tournament not to use excuses, but there is great anger about the state of the grass at the stadium in La Plata, where the match was held. The players and the professional staff were amazed by the state of the pitch and the FA does not understand how FIFA decided to hold such a prestigious event on a field with such a grass surface and did not change the location of the game.
The players and the various members of the national team are convinced that with a better grass surface the team would have qualified for the final. Madmon concluded: "I don't want to look for excuses, but on a normal field there was no battle here, in terms of football we are at a much higher level than them." The other actors are also in Madmon's opinion. "We couldn't develop our game at all, not move the ball and certainly not dribble," said a player on the national team, "If there was a normal surface and the ball didn't bounce all the time, the game would develop completely differently. It served Uruguay's style of play."
- Israeli football
- Israeli national teams
- Ofir Haim