Blue-and-white beaten by Belgium in Jerusalem

First-ever international tackle football game in Israel kicks off at Kraft Family Sports Campus

October 6, 2019 22:32
1 minute read.
Blue-and-white beaten by Belgium in Jerusalem

IN THE first ever internationally recognized tackle football game in Israel, the blue-and-white lost 32-23 to Belgium last night.. (photo credit: AFI COURTESY)

  Israel’s national tackle football team hosted Belgium in an historic home opener on Sunday night at the Kraft Family Sports Campus in Jerusalem and the blue-and-white came up just short, falling to a 32-23 defeat.

Israel fell behind 14-0 before coming back to take a 17-14 lead at half. After Belgium retook the lead in the third quarter, the blue-and-white rallied and threatening to go back in front at the start of fourth quarter. However, an untimely pick-six put Israel in a hole that could not be overcome.

“This was a momentous event,” said American Football in Israel President Steve Leibowitz. “The result is somewhat disappointing because it was a very evenly matched game that could have gone either way. Still, we will take a lot of positives out of our first game on home soil.”

Belgium, Israel, Spain, Hungary and Turkey are competing in Group B of the International Federation of American Football’s European completion.  After four games played during the next 12 months, the top team will advance to Group A, joining the best teams in Europe.  

Israel won its opening game in Turkey last month, outlasting  Turkey 27-22.  No other group games have yet to be played. In the fall of 2020, Team Israel will travel to face group favorite Hungary and Spain will visit Jerusalem.

The Israeli team is made of top players from the Kraft Family Israel Football League. Team Israel is coached by former NFL player Dr. Jay Hoffman.  

Israel has only four international tackle football games under its belt and after the win in Turkey and loss to Belgium, its record is 2-3.  The first game was a 28-20 victory over Spain played in Madrid in 2016.  In 2017 Israel lost to Italy and Switzerland in a four-team tournament played in Italy.  

The Israeli team is sponsored by family foundations connected to New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Minnesota Vikings owner Mark Wilf and Pro Football Hall of Fame President David Baker.

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