ramat gan stadium 88.
(photo credit: )
European soccer’s brightest talents will grace Israeli soccer stadiums in two years time after Israel was named the host of the 2013 European Under-21 Championships on Thursday.
Israel beat out Bulgaria, Czech Republic, England and Wales, receiving eight of 13 votes from the UEFA Executive Committee in the first round of voting in Nyon, Switzerland.
“This is an unprecedented achievement,” Israel Football Association chairman Avi Luzon said. “I’m as excited as I was when my first child was born. I hope this accomplishment will push Israeli soccer forward. This achievement shows the level of appreciation UEFA and its members have for Israeli soccer and its chairman.”
Thursday’s announcement is especially good news for the chairman’s nephew, Guy Luzon, who coaches Israel’s Under-21 team.
Luzon will now have more than two years to prepare his side for the championships, for which it will qualify automatically as the host.
The draw for the championship’s qualifying competition for the rest of the nations will take place at the House of European Football in Nyon next Thursday.
“Avi Luzon is the only person in Israeli sports who could have brought UEFA’s second most prestigious competition to Israel,” Guy Luzon said.
“Avi always believed he could do it. I don’t know what tactics he used, but they worked.
Now we need to prepare a worthy team. We will have plenty of new players by then and I promise we will have a good side.”
Israel, which also bid for Euro 2011, eventually losing out to Denmark,
will be taking part in the tournament for the second time in its history
after reaching the event in the Netherlands four years ago.