jeremy last 88.
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I must admit, it hasn’t been an easy week.
Sometimes the most difficult situations are those where we have to sit there, watching life continuing with the knowledge that we should be a part of it, only to have someone else’s poor decision making ensure that we are left out.
Considering recent events, it was relatively predictable that I would begin feeling a little angry around this time, but the depth of emotion still took me somewhat by surprise.
The party planning is nearing its climax, the final preparations are well under way, and we are nothing but a tool in someone else's plans.
There is nothing like the build up to a World Cup finals to get the goosebumps rising, and this week has been chock-full of fascinating warm-up matches which have raised numerous questions.
Will the French be able to rediscover the form of the late 1990s? Can Diego Maradona really coach Argentina to success? Has Fabio Capello already peaked as England manager? While some of the midweek friendlies featured a pair of national teams that will compete in South Africa, many others saw those who missed out act as weak opposition to give qualified nations a good send off as they leave for Africa.
Argentina’s 5-0 win over Canada in Buenos Aires was a good example.
Israel has unfortunately fallen into this group, underlining the terrible, frustrating failure of the side’s previous management.
Not only did Israel fail to make it to the World Cup from the easiest qualifying group it has ever been placed in, but the national team then allowed itself to be used as cannon fodder for the Uruguayans.
Any illusions local soccer fans had that Luis
Fernandez’s appointment as Israel coach would immediately bring a new spirit of optimism, the dawn of a new era, were crushed in the most cruel of manners at around 5.30 a.m. Israeli time on Wednesday night/Thursday morning.
Former coach Dror Kashtan may finally be out of the picture, but the vast gulf in class between Israeli soccer and even the lower ranked teams which claim to be among the best in the world was made painfully clear in the woeful 4-1 whipping in Montivideo.
Our boys in blue and white had a week to prepare but were well off the pace in a game played in front of a frenzied crowd of 40,000 delighting in Diego Forlan’s continuing rise in form.
Even more depressing was seeing former Betar Jerusalem striker Sebastian Abreu grabbing two well-taken goals in attacks which made a mockery of the Israel defense.
The national team may have been placed in another relatively easy group for Euro 2012 qualifying, yet considering this week’s performance it would be foolish to become overly hopeful about the upcoming campaign.
Which makes it all that more upsetting.
From North Korea to Switzerland, World Cup watchers in South Africa
next month will see quite a few sides that will be forced to punch
above their weight.
The World Cup finals are not only about the
best teams in the world, but include a cross section of nations from
all over the globe.
That is why Israel had every right to be there this summer, but Kashtan blew the chance and let down the entire nation.
despite the disappointment, it is time to move on and regain a positive
outlook, starting with South Africa vs Mexico on June 11 and moving on
towards Israel’s home game against Malta in September.
the management failures have given us the chance to have a relaxing
break where we can enjoy the Mundial without the distraction of
And, looking forward, there is still every
chance that things will change and improve. It is up to all of us to
get over the humps of disappointment and regain a new, forward-thinking
We may be fearing another bashing at the hands of
Chile on Saturday night, but if one can regain confidence and hope then
anything is possible.
Perhaps Fernandez really is the real deal.
Maybe Lior Rafaelov, Israel’s lone goalscorer on Wednesday, will
develop into a world beater.
We should all remember that a
change of circumstances can be used as the push that was needed to
elevate us to new heights, unexpected and never previously experienced.
Only then will we be able to achieve our true email@example.com
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