Israel’s under-20 national soccer team crashed out of the FIFA World Cup over the weekend after a 1-0 semifinal defeat to Uruguay, ending its dream run in the tournament in Argentina.
The squad made history last week when it beat soccer superpower Brazil 3-2 in a thrilling quarterfinal, the first Israeli national team to qualify for the World Cup since 1970.
Unlike the match against Brazil, the semifinal was quite stilted, ending in a goalless draw after the first 45-minute half. In the second half, however, Uruguay’s Anderson Duarte eventually managed to find the back of the net, breaking the stalemate.
The Israeli team dominated the rest of the game, winning the larger share of the ball possession and shots on goal, but ultimately failed to score an equalizer.
Despite crashing out of the run for the Mundialito cup, the Israeli side will remain in Argentina to face South Korea in a match for the bronze medals. South Korea lost 2-1 to Italy in the second semifinal.
“We are very disappointed by the loss in the semifinal, but the task is not yet completed and we will do everything to come back with a medal from the dream tournament,” spokesperson for Israel Football Association Eitan Dotan told ISRAEL21c.
After the defeat, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked the U-20 team on his Twitter account, writing, “Thank you national Israeli team! We are very proud of you.”
תודה לך נבחרת ישראל! גאים בכם מאוד! ???????????????????????? pic.twitter.com/JwNuHF8Gya— Benjamin Netanyahu – בנימין נתניהו (@netanyahu) June 8, 2023
The team is expected to return to Israel later this week.