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In stunning victory over Uzbekistan, Israel's U-20 soccer team advances to World Cup quarterfinals

Israel plays against Uzbekistan in under-20 World Cup, May 30, 2023 (Photo: Israel Football Association)

Israel’s Under-20 soccer team stunned the sports world by advancing to the World Cup quarterfinal following a 1-0 goal in the 97th minute against Uzbekistan.

This was the Jewish state’s first-ever qualification to a quarterfinal in the World Cup.

The player of the game, Anan Khalaili, sent the Jewish state to its first-ever quarterfinal by scoring a goal from a close range in the 97th minute which resulted in the win.

“I felt it. I had a good feeling about it. I knew it,” said the exhausted Khalaili. 

Israeli team manager Ofir Haim praised his team. 

“I’m proud of my players, this was a tough game, a cup championship,” said Haim, adding that their fighting spirit was instrumental for the victory. 

“We didn’t have good production, we were not smart, but we showed a lot of character. We were better than them. It wasn’t a great game, but there was a ton of fight and heart,” assessed Haim.

“Firstly, believe it. We have a great national team. We are special and I truly believe that,” said Haim. 

The Israeli coach expressed optimism concerning the next match, where Israel will likely compete against Brazil, if the soccer power beats Tunisia on Wednesday. 

“Whoever comes next is welcome, we’ll prepare, we’ve got a day off, we’ll get ready and try to make it to the semifinal,” he added. 

Pundits hailed Israel’s previous 2-1 victory against Japan as a historic achievement. Time will tell how the Israeli team will perform against Brazil or Tunisia in the next quarterfinal match.

Read more: SPORTS

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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