The massacre perpetrated by Palestinian Hamas terrorists shocked the world last Saturday. To date, more than 700 Israelis have been killed, more than 2500,100 injured and more than <> kidnapped in the Gaza Strip. Barbarism has also affected the world of sport.
Last Saturday, it became known that former footballer Lior Asulin was murdered while celebrating his 43rd birthday on the kibbutz of Re’im with friends. The striker had a remarkable career at Maccabi Herzliya, where he scored 48 goals in 128 games, and also wore the jersey of different Israeli clubs, such as Maccabi Petah Tikva, Beitar Jerusalem, Hapoel Tel Aviv, Hapoel Be’er Sheva or Hapoel Petah Tikva, among others, having retired in 2017 to Hapoel Nazareth Illit. He also played for Apollon Limassol in Cyprus in 2008.
On the other hand, Alon Shamli, coach of Hapoel Tel Aviv’s youth team, was killed in Egypt a day later after an Alexandria police officer shot at a group of Israeli tourists. In addition to Shamli, another Israeli citizen and a local guide were killed.
The war that began to rage in the Middle East after the Islamist attacks had a direct impact on the football competition. UEFA, according to the Israeli Football Federation, has decided to postpone until further notice the match between Israel and Switzerland at the Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv on Thursday, October 12, which is a qualifying match for Euro 2024 in Germany. The match between Kosovo and Israel on 15 October remains.
The Israeli under-21 team’s matches against Spain and Germany on the 12th and 17th respectively, which are qualifying matches for the 2025 European Championship, have also been postponed.
The golden age of Israeli football
Israeli football has experienced one of its best moments to date. The senior national team, which features Granada striker Shon Weissman and Tottenham striker Manor Solomon, could qualify for a UEFA European Championship for the first time in their history. They are currently third in Group I, just one point behind Romania and three behind Switzerland. Alon Hazan’s side have lost just one game, against the Swiss, away from home. The other games resulted in three wins (Belarus twice and Andorra) and two draws (Romania away and Kosovo home).
His only appearance at a major event was at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, and high-quality players such as Yossi Benayoun, Tal Ben Haim, and Eran Zahavi (still active but without playing for the national team since 2021) retired without being able to enjoy anything similar.
But that’s not all. The under-20 team made history in June by winning the bronze medal at the World Cup in Argentina. The Hebrews, in their first appearance, eliminated Uzbekistan and Brazil in the qualifiers, losing only to Uruguay in the semi-finals and finishing third against South Korea. Players like Anan Khalaily, Omer Senior, and Dor David Turgeman will be a force to be reckoned with in the coming years.
In addition, in 2022, this same generation were runners-up in the European Under-19 Championships, after eliminating France in the semi-finals and losing to England in the final. Oscar Gloukh, currently a Red Bull Salzburg player, was one of their key players.
Israel is a world power in the fields of technology, agriculture, innovation, industry, and trade. Perhaps in the coming years, it will also be a world power in football. In basketball, Maccabi Tel Aviv has six Euroleague titles, making it the third most successful club in the competition.