Israel looks to learn from Hungary loss as Belarus friendly is on tap

Jun 9, 2024 | Football | 0 comments

Following Israel’s 3-0 loss to Hungary at Debrecen on Saturday night, the blue-and-white will now ready to take on Belarus on Tuesday evening in friendly action. In what will be new head coach Ran Ben Shimon’s second game, Israel will look to pick up a positive result after the bench boss’s sideline debut that started off on the wrong foot with all three goals coming in the opening 22 minutes.

That forced Ben Shimon to quickly adjust his defensive formation and was able to keep Hungary at bay for the balance of the contest, however, his squad was still unable to put the ball into their opponents goal.

With a new game coming up, a number of players looked back at the first game under Ben Shimon as well as seeing what was coming up while also and perhaps most importantly acknowledging the rescue operation that saw the IDF and security forces bring home four hostages that were being held by Hamas in Gaza.

Midfielder Ramzi Safouri who began the game on the bench and entered the fray following the 3rd goal Israel conceded spoke about the Hungary matchup, “We played against a very well-trained team and a very good team that will also be in the Euros. For us, this is the first game that we have played together and there are many new players in the squad. It is good for us to learn from the mistakes we make, certainly against teams that are really good. We will take the good things from the game and learn from where we came up short.”

“As a player, you first have to come in and do your job to the best of your ability. It’s not just that the coach puts you on the field in the 30th minute to come and change the game. I’m happy that we, the players who came in were able to help the team. First of all, we didn’t concede another goal and we were also able to threaten the opponent’s goal. I believe in his team and certainly we can do good things together.”

Captain Eli Dasa who is currently plying his trade for Dynamo Moscow in Russia also summed up the game from his point of view, “We were a little surprised as we had a different game plan. We knew we had to hold them for the first 10-15 minutes and we weren’t able to. The positive that we can take is that both the coach and the squad is that we were able to play much better over the final hour of the game. For some of the players, it was a first call-up to the national team and that’s one of the differences between us and Hungary, who are a team that have played together for many years.”

Neta Lavi, who captained Maccabi Haifa for a number of years before heading to Japan where he now plays for Gamba Osaka, “For us, the game didn’t start well, of course. We received a big blow by the 20th minute when the score was already 3-0. We recovered from that so you can take some good things from that. We will have to learn some lessons so that this doesn’t happen again.”

“The Hungarian team really surprised us at the beginning, we recovered and then in the second half when there was more space on then pitch we went forward. This cannot happen, we will have to work on the coordination between us. This is a completely new team and all three goals came from a lack of coordination.”

“The game started unpleasantly, not the way we wanted and not according to the game plan,” defender Denny Gropper commented. “We were a little late, we were a little naive, maybe we pressed a little when we shouldn’t have. It didn’t work out for us. We made the changes the coach thought would help and after that we took control of the pace a little and calmed things down. Most of us are together for the first time, I’m sure that the next times will be much better.”

As for the upcoming game against Belarus, Israel hopes that the situation that occurred in the Hungary game won’t repeat itself, “We came to play against Hungary and not defend and just sit back,” Gopper said. “You saw that at the beginning of the game as we tried to come out, maybe with not good enough timing, but we came to play. We will definitely do that in the next game as well. We are coming to win.”

Dasa also spoke about the Belarus matchup, “Against Belarus, we will continue with how we finished the last game and we want to start properly. Of course, it was much more difficult for the first game, against the Hungarian national team and its fans, but we will have to slowly pick ourselves up step by step.”

Lavi gave his thoughts on the upcoming clash, “First of all, our coordination must be much better certainly against Belarus, which is not a team at the level of Hungary. We will have to do things much better at the beginning of the game.”

The players also expressed their joy on the rescue of the hostages which put their first game defeat in proportion, “I can say that from where we were, there was joy that we hadn’t experienced for a long time in Israel,” Safouri explained. “We were thrilled to hearing the news and it gave us a big boost before the game. It’s a shame we didn’t get a good result that we could have dedicated it to them. But regardless, we are so happy that they are back, so proud of them and hope that all the hostages will return with God’s help.”

“We all want to thank the security forces involved in the heroic rescue operation. We were all excited and we really hope that all the hostages will return home safely,” Lavi added.

Finally, Dasa shared some words on hearing the news that four hostages were released, “As soon as we heard about it, there was such great joy. It was right after our pre-match meeting at lunch, people were going crazy. It’s just so exciting and I hope that we see another 120 pictures like we saw of the hostages with their families once again.”

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