Something amazing is happening in Israeli soccer: the Cinderella team of under-20 players that in 2022 lost in the final game of the European Championship for teams under 20, on Saturday night defeated the Brazilian team, in San Juan, Argentina, at the quarter-finals of the World Cup for teams under 20.
After Brazil led 1-0, Israel scored to make it 1-1. Brazil scored again, and Israel tied again. And in the 30-minute extension, Israel scored one more time and held on to the win: 3-2.
The Israelis will meet in the semi-finals with the winner in the match between the US and Uruguay.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted: “El El Israel! Our young team made history and brought great pride to the State of Israel.”
National team coach Ofir Haim acknowledged that the win took place hours after three IDF soldiers had been murdered by a rogue Egyptian police officer (Egyptian Terrorist Kills 3 IDF Soldiers in Cross-Border Terror Attack), and said the win was “for the whole country. I want to unite this country. We united it in the European Championship and now we are doing it again. They saw that we are the better team – we deserved to win. … This team is so strong mentally. There’s a strong character, there are players here who believe in themselves, a formidable team from the first to the last. There is the tactical ability, tactical discipline, quality, talent, and a huge heart. We want to reach the final.”
The hero of the game Dor Turgeman, who scored the third goal and completed the great upset, dedicated the victory to the families of the murdered soldiers. “We’ve had a very difficult day in the State of Israel,” he said. “I want to dedicate the victory to the memory of the victims of the attack, to their families, and to all the people of Israel. I hope it made you at least a little bit happy – we’re with you from here.”