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Hard lesson for Israel youngsters

Published: Thursday 14 June 2007, 15.43CET
Goalkeeper Tom Al Madon hopes Israel will learn from a "very good experience" in the Netherlands despite obvious frustration at the manner of their elimination.
by Simon Hart
from Heerenveen

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Published: Thursday 14 June 2007, 15.43CET

Hard lesson for Israel youngsters

Goalkeeper Tom Al Madon hopes Israel will learn from a "very good experience" in the Netherlands despite obvious frustration at the manner of their elimination.

Israel goalkeeper Tom Al Madon tried to look on the bright side after his team's elimination from the UEFA European Under-21 Championship, saying he hoped the tournament newcomers would learn from their experience here – in particular the lack of concentration that cost them so dear.

'Controlled the game'
Guy Levy's side suffered a second successive 1-0 loss as they went down to Kevin Mirallas's late strike for ten-man Belgium having earlier missed several good chances to score. Al Madon told uefa.com: "We controlled the whole game and suddenly they get two or three attacks and we lose. But it was a very good experience for the future. This is the first tournament like this for Israel and it's been a big thing for us. We knew that it would be very difficult but when you feel it, it is something else."

Loss of concentration
Few words were said in the Israel dressing room after the game and captain Dekel Keinan, who was outpaced by Mirallas for the goal, cut a particularly crestfallen figure as he said: "One moment we didn't concentrate in defence and they scored." Striker Ben Sahar offered much the same: "This is the European Championship - the one time you switch off and don't concentrate and, boom, you've lost a goal. We were the better team and we had a few chances we should have scored from, but we didn't." With one Group A match remaining, however, against Portugal in Groningen on Saturday, Al Madon is hopeful Israel can still end their first U21 finals on a high. "I don't want to go home with no points – that's not good for us. I hope that against Portugal we can win or draw," he said.

Last updated: 14/06/07 23.34CET

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