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The Game I Wouldn’t Have Minded Losing

israel-soccer-team.jpgLast night, Israel defeated Russia 2-1 in the UEFA EURO 2008 tournament. While the result had no consequence for Israel – we had already missed out on qualifying – it did significantly boost England’s chances of qualifying.

And boy was the English team’s coach happy.

England boss Steve McClaren has paid tribute to Israel’s professionalism after they beat Russia to give his squad a Euro 2008 lifeline that looks set to save the beleaguered head coach from the sack.

The Israelis unexpected 2-1 win over Guus Hiddink’s side means England need only a draw against Croatia this week to book their place in next year’s finals in Austria and Switzerland.

One of the side effects of Omer Golan’s injury time winner for Israel was to ensure the Croatians of their finals spot, and, despite a 2-0 defeat by Macedonia on Saturday night, Slaven Bilic’s squad will have only pride to play for at Wembley on Wednesday evening.

McClaren, who had been facing the sack in the event of a Russian win in Tel Aviv, could scarcely control his emotions after watching Israel effectively extend his stay in the rarefied atmosphere of international management.

“What a night! Absolutely fantastic news for us all,” said the former Middlesbrough boss.

“I’d like to pay tribute to Israel for the professional way they went about their job – they showed what a proud nation they are and deserve a lot of praise for their efforts.

To be perfectly honest, I would not have minded at all had Israel lost. For any number of reasons.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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