SOCCER: England takes first Olim World Cup since ’07
Four years after the last
seven-a-side Olim world cup, England joined Ethiopia in becoming the only
country to win the trophy twice last week.
The tournament was an annual
event from 2003 to 2007, before budget cuts within the Aliya organizations meant
that that England’s 2007 win would be the last.
That was until this year,
when “Telalivit,” the Tel Aviv-based online social network, decided to re-launch
A few hours before the tournament, England’s chances were dashed when
key striker, Josh Portnoi missed his connecting flight back to Israel due to the
ash cloud over Western Europe, following a work trip in Ireland. With no time to
call up a replacement, manager and veteran Jerusalem and former England player
Danny Newman was forced to join the squad himself.
England’s chances were
further dented in the group stages, when a clash of heads against the USA left
Dan Kosky with a swollen eye, reduc ing England to one substitute for
potentially seven games.
England qualified for the quarterfinals in
second place behind the USA who they lost 2-0 to in the opening game.
quarter finals provided some intriguing fixtures. The undefeated USA vs Brazil,
Italy vs France and two of the other highly-fancied teams, Argentina vs
England was pitted against tournament favorite Ivory Coast,
which cruised through the group stage scoring a hatful, convincingly winning all
four of its group games.
England battled and defended to cancel out
everything the Ivory Coast threw at it.
With chances at a premium for
both sides, the entertaining game ended 0-0, forcing the dreaded penalty shoot
Winning the toss, and with three penalties each before sudden death,
England opted to go first. Yeffet Zairi scored, then Simon Davies saved going to
his right. Yoni Sidi scored before Ivory Coast’s second penalty smashed against
the bar, ensuring England’s progress through to the semifinals for the third
tournament in a row, shocking Ivory Coast and all the crowds
England faced the strong Italians in the semis, buoyed on by
Kosky from the stands, who had returned from the hospital, with both teams
canceling each other out over the first half.
With the game petering out
and looking to head to another penalty shoot out, England started turning the
screw, with Tal Stern becoming more and more influential in the middle of the
park, with a couple of chances falling England’s way.
With a few minutes
left, a whipped-in cross found its way into the Italian net, with the final
touch coming off an Italian’s head. England held out for the last two minutes,
winning 1-0 to reach the final.
The other semifinal between USA and
Argentina was a fiery affair. With the score 1-1 at halftime, the game erupted
midway through the second half, following a USA goal and an Argentinean red
card, and protests which prompted the game to be halted for a few minutes, until
order was resumed. After that point, USA added one more to progress 3- 1 to the
The final pitted the two teams who started the opening game of the
“group of death” against each other. The USA started as overwhelming favorites,
having a full squad and still looking very fit.
England, on the other
hand, due to being reduced to the bare minimum following injuries and lack of
subs, looked tired and jaded.
The fitness showed, as midway through the
first half, the USA took the lead. England, despite the fatigue after six
grueling games prior to the final, regrouped and tried to get back in the
The game headed into the final minutes with the trophy looking like
it was heading to the USA. With one last attack, Zairi headed back into the USA
area, and Newman (in an unconventional forward position) swung his right boot to
volley the ball into the left hand corner, with mere seconds remaining on the
clock, sending the final to penalties.
Zairi, Sidi and Newman all hit the
target as did the USA: 3-3 and sudden death.
Preston slotted his penalty
in, advantage England. Davies kept his cool, keeping out Brad Bernstein’s
penalty and sending the England fans wild. England won 4-3 on penalties,
becoming the first back-to-back winner, albeit four years after the last
cup.SOFTBALL: Warriors roll over RiseHi 15-7, sweep season series from rivals
Morningside Translations Warriors beat RiseHi 15-7 on Friday at Gezer to secure
their third victory in a week over their longtime rivals.
after they were swept in all four games against RiseHi, the Warriors have now
returned the favor and likely wrapped up the number one playoff seed in the
modified-pitch softball league in the process.
Pitcher Avi Dzik held
RiseHi scoreless over the last five innings and helped his own cause with three
hits and four RBIs at the plate.
He got plenty of help
Gershon Jacobovitch made a number of spectacular plays in
center, Matt Churchill was solid behind the plate and Yanky Itzkowitz made the
play of the game in left, diving into the fence to steal a grand slam home run
away from Chaim Jacobson in the fifth inning and keeping a safe lead for the
Itzkowitz was also a terror on the basepaths with two steals
and three runs scored.
The Warriors featured a balanced lineup in which
every player hit and scored.
For RiseHi, Chaim Jacoson had two hits and
three RBIs, and Ariel Gilor went 4 for 4.
Earl Harow, pitching in relief
of his injured brother Ed, held the MW bats in check but Rise Hi could not
sustain any consistent or clutch hitting.GOLF: Twilight golf comes to Ga’ash
Ga’ash Golf Club and Cigar
Magazine held a nine hole twilight
tournament at Ga’ash last Thursday.
The format was a nine-hole better
ball stableford 75% handicap, with both players’ scores counting on the par
On 27 stableford points were the two teams of Arik Heanig and Shuki
Zuk, and Shalom Menora and Zadik Bino, with Arik and Shuki winning on the count
Nearest to the pin prizes went to Avinoam Zehavi and Raphy