Goalscorer Dor Hugy and captain Dor Peretz believe Israel can take plenty of heart from their time in Hungary despite the disappointment of three straight defeats.
Article top media content
Israel's Dor Hugy and Dor Peretz are disappointed the team's UEFA European Under-19 Championship came to a premature end but know there is plenty to learn from their time in Hungary.
A 2-1 loss against the hosts on matchday three means Israel finish bottom of Group A without a point, but their displays were impressive nonetheless and could easily have brought reward had things been different. "We started well and put lots of pressure on Hungary as we knew it would be a hard match and we wanted to qualify for the World Cup, but unfortunately we didn't do it," Hugy told UEFA.com.
"We had a lot of chances; we thought for sure we would score [again] but it did not happen unfortunately, due to lack of focus and luck and maybe the pressure as well," added the forward, who did find the net on 36 minutes only for Hungary to swiftly – and decisively – regain the lead. "My goal was beautiful but unfortunately no one will remember it because we did not achieve our overall aim. I knew the right-sided player would cross it in as we had worked on this in training so it was a rehearsed move to the near post."
Captain Peretz admitted he was struggling to express himself after a loss that means Israel miss out on next year's FIFA U-20 World Cup. "We don't have enough words to explain how we feel," the Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC midfielder told UEFA.com. "We were so close but it has slipped through our hands. We are very upset and disappointed, but I want to thank all the fans that were cheering for us: they pushed us and believed all along we could do it. We're sorry we didn't manage to make all our fans back in Israel happy, but that's how it goes."
Hugy, though, is glad the team has great experiences to take home and is sure their three matches will aid their development. "At this tournament I have learnt about the intensity of the games and that players overseas are more physically developed than we are. We know we need to improve in this.
"For me it is very special to be here as one of the top 20 players in Israel at my age and for our team to be here as one of the seven best in Europe," added the Hapoel Petach-Tikva FC forward. "I dream of being a professional footballer, playing in Israel with a top team. Then the sky's the limit – Barcelona or Manchester United!"