1) The Israel National Football Team held their prematch press conference ahead of Friday night’s UEFA Nations League match against Albania as Head Coach Andi Herzog addressed the assembled media, “Of course I’m excited. Although we’ve only been together for training over the the past few days, I’m looking forward to playing tomorrow which will be a very special moment for me.”
Herzog continued, “We worked on both defending and our attack and we will have to see how we’ll do in the match itself. We have quality players at each position and we want to improve match by match. The Nations League is a good opportunity for Israel to advance to a big tournament.”
About the game plan:
“I was an attacker and I would be happy to see the same form my national team. The quality of my players can allow for this but we will have to see how things line up on the pitch during the match.”
Captain Bibras Natcho added, “We are in a new tournament with a new professional staff. I’m happy that I am the captain of the squad and its one of the highlights of my career. We will have to have to implement the game plan the coach wants, be focussed on defense and attack Albania’s weak points.”
2) The Israel National Basketball Team held their first exhibition game before the next window of FIBA World Cup qualifiers and defeated Russia 93-71. The Blue & White ran out to a 29-11 lead after ten minutes and never looked back. Head Coach Oded Katash’s side was led by a super effort from Jake Cohen with 23 points going 8/10 from the field and 4/4 from the free throw line. John DiBartolomeo dropped 12 points in his debut for the National Team while Itay Segev scored 11 points and Yovel Zoosman recorded and double-double with 10 point and 10 rebounds. Dmitry Kulagin led Russia with 19 points as Alexey Shved added 14 points in the defeat.
Israel dominated the Russians in every aspect of the contest, rebounds 39-33, assists 23-14, turnovers 14-24 while taking 20(!) more shots from the field 71-51 and hitting 52% of their attempts in the one-sided affair.
Oded Katash, “It was an all around good game both offensively and defensively. We played together and I’m happy to see how we have improved. The players are more familiar with each other and they understand the style of play I’m expecting and it’s great to see as I hope it continues. All in all it was a very good game.”
Katash continued, “We are about to begin the second stage of qualifying in a group with very difficult teams. We defeated one of the strongest teams today and one of the best in Europe. I hope that will give us confidence that we can win some games during this upcoming window.”
3) The Israel U-21 National Team drew at Azerbaijan 1:1 with Shon Weissman scoring the lone Boue & White goal. The result leaves Israel with very little chance of qualifying for the U21 Euro Tournament as they sit in 5th place out of 6 in their group which includes Germany, Ireland, Kosovo and Norway ahead of them in the standings.
Quick Hits – Keeper Dudu Goresh and defender Shmuel Scheiman leave Hapoel Beer Sheva and sign with Beitar Jerusalem…An agreement has been made between Bnei Sakhnin and Beitar Jerusalem that will allow away fans to attend their team’s matches at their respective stadiums and vice-versa…The Israel Basketball Association and their Russian counterparts signed a cooperation agreement…