Historic 1989 Israel-Colombia soccer match showcased in new documentary

Ambassador Gali Dagan (photo credit: Embassy of Israel in Colombia)
Ambassador Gali Dagan
(photo credit: Embassy of Israel in Colombia)

The 1989 playoff match between Israel and Colombia to qualify for the 1990 World Cup was the focus of a documentary produced by the Embassy of Israel in Colombia ahead of the 2023 U-20 World Cup - where the two nations faced each other once again.

Israel and Colombia were included in the same group at the U-20 World Cup, which took place in Argentina between May and June. The match between the two teams on May 21 marked the opening game of the tournament for both.

The 27-minute documentary was screened in prime time two days before the match on RED+, one of the major Colombian TV channels.

The project was started at the initiative of Israeli ambassador Gali Dagan, who worked for several months with a team from RED+ 

“After the match, Colombia won the heart of the Israeli public,” Dagan said in an interview. During the documentary, the ambassador also shared his memories of the match.

Indeed, the documentary - which was produced by respected Colombian sports journalist Gabriel Romero - showcased how the soccer match turned into an opportunity for two distant countries to learn more about each other’s identity and culture.

The movie features interviews with several players from the Israeli team, Captain Moshe Sinai, Goalkeeper Bonni Ginzburg, Nir Levin and Nir Klinger. In addition, also the greatest Colombian player of all time Carlos "El Fiba" Valderrama, a member of its coaching staff and the famous mascot of the team EI Cole appear in the documentary.

Even though Israel lost to Colombia in the U-20 World Cup - much like the senior team in 1989 - it ended up advancing up to the semifinals and scoring a historic third place in the tournament.

This article is powered by Ministry of Foreign Affairs