Israel forward Ben Sahar has admitted his team were beaten by "a superior side" in Portugal on Saturday but insists on accentuating the positives of their overall performance in the Netherlands.
'A few levels above us'
Guy Levy's men ended their inaugural UEFA European Under-21 Championship campaign with neither a point nor a goal to their name following a 4-0 loss to Portugal in Groningen. Yet despite finishing bottom of Group A, Sahar believes they will have benefited from the experience. "We suffered a heavy defeat today," said the 17-year-old. "They were undoubtedly a superior side, a few levels above us. We did everything we could, but again we sat back from the beginning, conceded the first goal and there's another defeat.
Taking the positives
"We will try and amend our mistakes, look forward, and try and think about next year," added Sahar. "Obviously it's the first year for us at this level and some players took a while to get used it and to the ability of the opposition. We gained lots of experience and I am taking only the positives from this tournament." They may have suffered 1-0 defeats in their previous outings against the Netherlands and Belgium, but Sahar argues that they performed creditably on both occasions – "to play against Belgium and be better than them, and to play against the Dutch and concede just one goal".
While Israel will grow from this experience, their young striker is looking forward to the next step of his education. The Chelsea FC player – the youngest at these U21 finals - revealed he might spend the first half of the 2007/08 campaign on loan away from Stamford Bridge. "I am aware of the fact I could be on loan for a few months but then I will return because, for the African Cup of Nations, a couple of strikers will be gone [from Chelsea]."
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