Soccer: London's Israelis excited over match

"It is a dream come true to see the Israeli team play England here," says one expatriate.

September 7, 2007 07:46
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Few Israelis living in London believe the national team has much chance of beating England at Wembley on Saturday. But there is a palpable air of excitement about the match among the local ex-pat community. "It is a dream come true to see the Israeli team play England here," said 22-year-old Guy Rozman, a Maccabi Haifa supporter who moved to London last month from Kfar Saba. "I can't wait to see Yaniv Katan on Saturday, although I'm not sure we can win." Daniel Varstevsky has been living in London for two and a half years, and although he admits not being much of a soccer fan, he has bought tickets for the Euro 2008 qualifier along with a group of Israelis. "We paid £100 for each ticket when we bought them from a guy around here," Varstevsky said while munching on a felafel outside the Pita hummus bar in Golders Green, London's Israeli capital. "I think it will be 2-1 to England. At best we may be able to draw because England has been playing very badly recently, but it's not going to be easy." "I think we could lose this one," said English fan Joe Rothman. "I know Benayoun and Ben-Haim are good players and there's a lack of confidence in the England camp." Leaving the Taboon felafel restaurant on Golders Green road, former Tel Aviv resident Uri Levy said he is genuinely excited about the game. "It is the first time we have been able to see Israel play here," said Levy, who has lived in London since 1990 but bought tickets from an agent in Israel for NIS 400. "Most of my Israeli friends are going to be going to the game. I think it will end 0-0." However, not all Israelis in London are happy about the situation. Roni, who works in Taboon, said he would have gone if the game was not on a Saturday afternoon. "It is wrong they are playing on Shabbat," the Hapoel Tel Aviv fan said. "It is not the Jewish way."

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