Game day 3 got under way Saturday with two more important matches and the results were far from one would have had expected!
Norway was good. Actually they were great as they totally dismantled England. Yes, England. Manager Stuart Pearce can talk to the cows come home about how he did not have a full side with him as many players stayed home, but still, this is England against Norway! Not to put Norway down in any way and they played a perfect team match and they also came back against Israel in game 1 with 10 men, but England must be hanging their heads in shame after another early exit.
England. Period. Much more was expected from this side during the campaign and yet they were the first team to bite the dust after two matches and now play on Tuesday for pride only at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem where Senior manager Roy Hodgson will be taking in the game.
That this game had to be played on Shabbat in Israel. With a start time of 7pm locally this is an absolute disgrace that the match could not kick off after Shabbat and give observant fans a chance to make it to the game. And not only that, on the international stage it is an abomination that Israel has to host a game on Shabbat. Yes, I know there are TV contracts and UEFA considerations, but this is something that should have been non-negotiable.
Bloomfield Stadium was almost near capacity for this match with the majority of fans rooting for the home and host side Israel. Italy was also pretty good as well. Once Eyal Golasa was sent off with a straight red card in the 38th minute, Italy knew exactly how to take advantage of the situation and put away the opposition even without the inured Lorenzo Insigne.
Israel’s play after minute 38, plain & simple. The red card to Golasa set off a pretty brutal chain of events for Israel and shock and awe would have been two of them and the fact that Israel on the pitch had no idea of how to play with 10 men. Israel off the pitch also was clueless in how to deal with the turn of events.
Was the red card harsh? yes. No question about it. It should have been a yellow but the referee followed the letter of the law and two feet=red. Did the referee change the fate of the match? Very possibly. Because for the first quarter of the match Israel looked like they were able to stand toe to toe with the Italians.
Guy Luzon. The Israeli coach did not have anything to say to his charges before the match according to multiple reports. There seems to be major disconnect between the manager and his players and it could not have been more evident on the pitch with Israel absolutely a non-factor and having no idea of how to play with 10 men once the red card was issued. They looked disorganized and lost and that can only be a poor reflection on the coach who right before the tournament signed a contract with Standard Liege to coach them this upcoming season. After the match he said he was proud of his players who had played great until the red card and that the referee had changed the whole complexion of the game. Please coach Luzon. Yes it may have been true that the ref did change the match but have a bit of pride and don’t start blaming others for your squad.