Sunday, October 08, 2006
Dare to Dream
It was way back in 1970, some 36 years ago, when Israel's national football team last participated in a major international competition (1970's World Cup in Mexico). But on the back of 3 very solid results (a 1-0 win against Estonia, a 4-1 thrashing of Andorra and yesterday's 1-1 tie with Russia), Israeli fans are yet again starting to dream of a place amongst Europe's elite in the European Championships in 2008. Despite a very poor 1st half performance, the half time whistle blew with Israel only down 1-0. Although there was only a slight improvement in the 2nd half, two of Israel's up & coming youngsters managed to carve something out of nothing late in the game to steal a share of the points. On an error by a Russian defender, Toto Tammuz (a 19 year old born to Nigerian illegal immigrants) managed to get a vicious shot on goal which the Russian goalkeeper managed to deflect. Amit Ben Shushan, a 21 year old striker with bucket loads of potential, was there to collect the rebound and put in his 2nd goal in 4 competitive matches for the national team. Ben Shushan's goal not only lifted Israel to the top of the group (tied with England on 7 points), but it also continued Israel's remarkable 3 year unbeaten streak in competitive matches. To cap off a marvelous night for our football teams, our U21 team managed to tie the French U21 team 1-1 in Paris despite playing with only 10 men for 65 minutes. This team is oozing with talent, confidence, speed, technique and a belief that they belong. Israel's footballing future hasn't looked so bright in a long time - El El Yisrael!