"This is the kind of day when you enjoy what you do," was the analysis of Israel coach Eliahu Ohana after his side and Group 10 runners-up Denmark qualified for the elite round.
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Israel and Denmark will compete in the UEFA European Under-19 Championship elite round after occupying the top two spots in qualifying round Group 10, with third-placed Italy facing a wait to discover whether they too will progress.
Denmark went into Sunday's last round of action in Israel at the head of the class but had to settle for a runners-up finish after suffering a 2-0 loss to Italy. That was not enough to ensure an elite round berth for Alessandro Pane's charges, though, as Israel overcame Liechtenstein 9-0 in their final assignment. With the leading trio all locked on six points, Italy came in third based on goals scored in games between them – meaning they must wait to learn if they will go through as the third-placed team with the best record against the front pair in their group.
Section winners Israel made sure of pole position with a blistering display in their concluding outing, Dor Hugy and substitute Avishay Cohen both striking twice in the win against Liechtenstein. It was the perfect response to their 3-1 defeat by Denmark on matchday two, the hosts having kicked off by downing Italy 2-0, Michael Ohana hitting a double. "The first game against Italy was the key to our success," said coach Eliahu Ohana. "This is the kind of day when you enjoy what you do. With a good draw and some luck, we can even reach the finals."
As for Denmark, they missed the chance to end with a perfect record as they succumbed to the Italians. Hopes were high after the Scandinavian hopefuls followed up a 2-0 success against Liechtenstein by cruising to a 3-1 victory over Israel – Johannes Ritter Plum opening the scoring, Emiliano Hansen adding to the lead and Andrew Hjulsager's penalty making the game safe, before a consolation goal for substitute Eden Shamir. Italy proved too strong, however, Luca Crecco and Andrea Petagna on target for the side who swept aside Liechtenstein 5-0 in their second outing.