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Israel advances to Under-21 Euro soccer semis

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the team’s “incredible achievement.”

The Israel squad celebrates its penalty shootout victory over the Republic of Georgia at the 2023 UEFA European Under-21 Championship in Tbilisi, July 1, 2023. Source: Twitter.
The Israel squad celebrates its penalty shootout victory over the Republic of Georgia at the 2023 UEFA European Under-21 Championship in Tbilisi, July 1, 2023. Source: Twitter.

Israel scored a historic victory in the Under-21 European Championships, beating Georgia in a penalty shootout on Saturday night to advance to the semifinals.

The Israeli squad won 4-3 in penalties following a goalless contest.

Israeli goalkeeper Daniel Peretz was awarded man of the match for keeping the Georgians off the scoresheet, including blocking one of the shootout attempts.

The win silenced the 44,338 fans gathered in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, which is hosting the tournament together with Romania.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the team’s “incredible achievement.”

President Isaac Herzog hailed the team’s “determination and willpower,” adding, “We’re behind you.”

Israel will play on Wednesday for a spot in the final against the winner of Sunday’s match between Portugal and England, which beat the Israeli squad 2-0 during the group stage.

Israel’s Under-21 team had punched its ticket to the quarterfinals by shocking the Czech Republic on Wednesday, with Omri Gandelman scoring in the 82nd minute to give Israel a 1-0 win.

The Israelis began that evening at the bottom of their group, and needed to beat the Czechs and for England, which had already qualified for the next round, to defeat Germany.

The success follows Israel’s historic run earlier this month at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Argentina, where the team finished in third place.

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