Emanuel Sheffer, the soccer coach who led Israel to the only World Cup finals in which it has ever participated, died on Friday at the age of 88.

Sheffer was the coach of the Israeli team when it competed in the World Cup finals Mexico in 1970, and led Israel to the quarterfinals of the Olympic Games two years before in 1968.

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Sheffer fled from Poland to Russia before World War II, ultimately returning to Poland to establish a Jewish-only soccer team which was later closed by the Communists.  He immigrated to Israel in 1950 and played for Hapoel Haifa and Hapoel Kfar Sava before beginning his coaching career.

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Malkah Fleisher is a graduate of Cardozo Law School in New York City. She is an editor/staff writer at JewishPress.com and co-hosts a weekly Israeli FM radio show. Malkah lives with her husband and two children on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
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