This past weekend on Saturday, the Israeli soccer team defeated Russia 2-1 in a pretty exciting game. The Israeli team no longer has a chance to make it to the EURO 2008 qualifying matches, but the team played with the vigor and determination of a team on their way to the World Cup.
Saturday’s game was played at the Ramat Gan National Stadium in Tel Aviv and was attended by a large audience of devoted fans, who came out to support their county and their team. Israel’s two best players Yossi Benayoun and Shimon Gerson were both benched due to bad injuries, but the team played very well without them, in what I considered to be a very enjoyable game.
Elyaniv Barda and Omer Golan scored the winning goals for Israel. Russian player Diniyar Bilyaletdinov scored the only goal for the Russian team.
Last month the formidable English team lost to Russia 2-1 and it was assumed that England would not be making the Euro ’08 finals, a heartbreaking outcome for fans of British Football.
The loss to the British team and team sponsors (as reported by SoccerAmerica) for not making the Euro ’08 finals was “calculated to be in the tens of millions of dollars.” However, this was based on the belief that Russia would defeat Israel in Tel Aviv, which of course they failed to do.
Israel’s win over Russia Saturday was very meaningful for the English soccer team. England is now still in the running if it defeats or ties Croatia on Wednesday at Wembly Stadium. England soccer coach Steve McClaren praised Israel for a fine effort and was obviously grateful for the Israeli victory, allowing his team the chance to recover and it to make the Euro ’08 finals. “They showed what a proud nation they are and deserve a lot of praise for their efforts.”
I am new to the sport of Soccer. I started getting very interested in the game last year, when I viewed the HBO Special Dare to Dream. This was a special on the outstanding women’s soccer team, and their wins over China and Norway and their capturing of the World Championship in spectacular fashion. I fell in love with the game and players like Mia Hamm, Michelle Akers, Julie Foudy, Christine Lilly, and Joy Faucet. I now have a huge love for the game.
The Fox Soccer Channel, or FSC For short, announced this weekend their intention to “really promote the growth of soccer in the US.” I think the sport is about to see incredible growth, especially with Fox Sports so determined to promote the Fox Soccer Channel. I am happy to be a part of it. Let’s see how England fares this week against Croatia!