Jakarta, CNN Indonesia —
The U-20 Israel National Team is one of the participants in the 2023 U-20 World Cup which is scheduled to take place in Indonesia. Israel must pass a steep road to the world stage.
This is the first time Israel has participated in the U-20 World Cup. As a debutant, this score is an achievement in itself for this UEFA member team.
Israel’s path is also not easy. They must go through three stages before getting a ticket to the 2023 U-20 World Cup.
The first stage is the qualification for the 2022 U-19 European Cup. In the initial phase, Israel won two wins against Moldova and Cyprus then lost to the Netherlands. The result left Israel runner up in Group 4 under the Netherlands as the standings leader.
The runner-up status brought Olif Haim’s team to the second stage, namely the elite round. In this phase, Israel won Group 1 thanks to a score of seven points from wins against Turkey and Scotland, then drew against Hungary.
Turkey and Scotland are the former Euro Under-19 champions. Turkey won in 1992 and runner up in 1993, 2004, while Scotland won in 1982 and runner up in 2006.
It was not enough to blow Turkey and Scotland, the three-time Euro Under-19 champions Hungary failed to win. Tickets to the 2022 U-19 European Cup finals were also secured by Israel.
Israel joins Group B at the 2022 U-19 European Cup. One victory over Austria, who is a two-time winner of the U-19 European Cup, a draw against Serbia (collecting three titles and four runners-up), and losing to England is enough for Israel to break through to the semifinals. At this point, Israel will also get a ticket to the 2023 U-20 World Cup.
In the semifinals, Israel surprisingly won 2-1 over France while also qualifying for the final. France is a team that has won eight U-19 European Cup titles. With the last time winning in 2016.
Israel’s dream of winning the U-19 European Cup was stopped by England with a 1-3 defeat. Despite failing to win, Israel became one of the European representatives to be reckoned with.
One of the reasons, Israel can get past the teams that incidentally have won in Europe. Because the 2022 U-19 European Cup was Israel’s first moment to advance to the knockout phase and even penetrate to the final.
It was the best achievement for Tai Abed and his friends during two decades of participating in the U-19 European Cup. No doubt, Israel deserves to be watched out for at the 2023 U-20 World Cup.
On the one hand, Israel’s presence at the 2023 U-20 World Cup has drawn polemic. Rejection of Israel has recently been getting heavier in the aftermath of the conflict with Palestine.
The draw for the 2023 U-20 World Cup, which was originally scheduled to be held in Bali on March 31, 2023, has also been cancelled. The fate of Indonesia as the host of this junior football tournament is also considered to be in the balance.