For Israel captain Nir Biton, there were mixed emotions after the opening UEFA European Under-21 Championship Group A 2-2 draw with ten-man Norway.
There was a feeling of honour from scoring his country's first goal at this level, frustration at conceding a last-gasp equaliser and also an admittance that Israel rode their luck. Harmeet Singh, the Norway substitute who denied Israel victory, said his strike felt "like a movie" – one which was very nearly a hard-luck story but proved a triumph of the spirit.
Nir Biton, Israel midfielder
It's frustrating, it's annoying – you can call it whatever you want. When you are leading 2-1 and the opponents are down to ten men then drawing is frustrating. But we won't cry over it – we are looking forward to the next game. We will try to improve some things before the game against Italy and we will hope for a good result.
We didn't play well today. We weren't happy with the way the game evolved and Norway controlled the game. In football not only the best team wins, though, and we had a bit of luck. I hope that in the next game we won't build on luck, but on our ability even if we are up against Italy.
It's a good feeling to go down Israel football history. It's a great honour but my goal is not important. We wanted to win and that didn't happen. We have two more games to show what we’ve got and we will do it.
Alon Turgeman, Israel forward
I imagined I would come on as a substitute and it always runs through your head. Each and every striker that comes off the bench knows that's what he should do. There is no feeling like [scoring] in the world.
I agree that Norway were better but we were the ones disappointed at the end. I'm glad that we got a draw because we weren't good enough to win this. The Norwegians are a really good team. We were prepped for them but it wasn't enough and they came here and played better than us.
Harmeet Singh, Norway midfielder
It was really nice to see the ball going into the goal. I felt it was just like a movie, it went so fast. I was just acting on instinct, reacting on what’s normal for me there and then. Of course I was not satisfied by sitting on the bench but we have a really good team and I had to support the lads, and I had to do my best when I got the chance. I felt like I just made a difference when the team needed it so for me, I am really delighted.
[This performance] says that we [belong] among the top eight teams in Europe. It is not any surprise that we made it to the EURO. We have a great spirit in the team, we have really good football players and we work really well as a team.
Stefan Johansen, Norway midfielder
Harmeet came in and scored an important goal and we'll take that with us. We are a strong team and we kept believing the whole way. We know we have good subs who can come in and turn around a match. I think we deserved to win today – we had a lot of chances, and hit the post several times. We just need to put the ball in the net and play as we did today and keep 11 guys on the field.
Anders Konradssen, Norway midfielder
We could have scored a couple of goals before the red card but in any match when a team gets a red card it changes the game – we had to make changes and we lost a bit of the good control that we had before. There is a very good spirit in this team, we always believe we can get something out of the matches and even though we had a little bit of bad luck we were never going to lose faith.
Tomorrow we start preparing for England and I honestly believe we have a good chance of getting three points from that game. Obviously the one point we've got is really important for us but most of the guys are disappointed – we felt we were the better team.
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