The Israel National Team in tackle football beat Spain 30-23 this week in Jerusalem to advance to a showdown against Germany for promotion to Group A in European play.
In a high-octane affair viewed by over 1,000 fans at the Kraft Family Sports Campus, Spain scored first to lead by seven, but Team Israel responded with two touchdown drives to lead 14-7.
The high-scoring first half ended with Israel leading 21-14.
Israel opened the second half scoring with a field goal. It then became a game of ball control with Israel holding a 24-14 lead.
Spain managed to cut the lead to one score with a field goal of their own to make it 24-17.
However, the Israeli defense managed to protect the lead until the final whistle and claim the hard-earned victory.
Veteran Danny Eastman led the D with a pair of interceptions, while Israel quarterback Tzvi Greenstone threw for 229 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for another 77 yards.
Spain QB Sergio Barbero Sanchez tossed a pair of TDs, but also threw two picks.
Where to next?
The game against Germany will be played in October at a location still to be determined as the Israeli and German federations need to now negotiate exactly where and when the game will kick off. The winner would advance to Group A, which includes the top American football nations in Europe.
“Germany was arguably the best team in Europe. They left Group A due to a dispute with the International Federation of American Football. Now they must earn their way back in. Only Team Israel stands in their way. We plan to make that path as difficult as possible.”American Football in Israel President Steve Leibowitz
American Football in Israel President Steve Leibowitz praised the “gutsy and heroic victory of Coach Jay Hoffman’s squad.”
Leibowitz also cautioned that the game against Germany is an entirely different challenge.
“Germany was arguably the best team in Europe. They left Group A due to a dispute with the International Federation of American Football. Now they must earn their way back in. Only Team Israel stands in their way. We plan to make that path as difficult as possible.”
Team Israel consists of players from the Kraft Family Israel Football League. Participation in the international tournament is possible due to the support of Robert Kraft (owner of the NFL’s New England Patriots), and the Wilf family (owners of the Minnesota Vikings).