Israel bow out with victory against England
Tuesday, 11 June 2013
Israel 1-0 England
Ofir Krieff struck the 80th-minute winner on his home ground to ensure England head home bottom of Group A without a point to their name.
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Tournament hosts Israel concluded their UEFA European Under-21 Championship campaign with a 1-0 victory against England.
Stuart Pearce's side, widely-fancied to progress from Group A before the finals, succumbed to Ofir Krieff's fine finish with ten minutes left and with it ended up bottom of the section and only the fourth side to finish an U21 tournament without a point. Guy Luzon's side, meanwhile, went "out with a bang" as promised.
It was pertinent that at the Teddy Stadium, Israel first threatened with a Sheringham-esque corner on 15 minutes. Sintayehu Sallalich delivered the set piece low to the near post but Alon Turgeman was unable to finish. Sallalich lurked again soon after, though this time more by luck than design as his cross-shot called into action Jason Steele, who showed no sign of ring-rustiness despite not having played since 4 May.
Boris Kleyman, hitherto not unduly concerned aside from one Tom Ince chance and a wayward Jonjo Shelvey shot, was forced to follow suit and dirty his own gloves just over ten minutes later. The hosts' No1 was out swiftly enough to thwart Ince and up in good time to parry Zaha's header on the rebound. Omri Ben Harush's own aerial effort on the stroke of half-time should have tested Steele but looped just over.
Equally close to the target was Connor Wickham's delightful shot soon after the interval, the ball bending just around Kleyman's left-hand upright on this occasion. Luzon's team went closer still before the hour, Nir Biton's venomous shot from range this time kept out by the frame of the goal itself.
Israel's No8 was promptly at the fore once more, playing in Ben Harush, who in turn laid the ball off for Ofer Verta, the finish again wide of the mark. Though Israel looked to have discovered a creative spark of their own, Steele almost gave them an inadvertent helping hand when, well out of his area, his clearance dropped straight to Israel Zaguri. The Middlesbrough FC goalkeeper, though, back-pedalled just quickly enough.
He ran out of luck with ten minutes left, however, when Krieff unleashed a precise shot that nestled in the bottom corner at his home ground. For Luzon, it was the perfect parting gift before he assumes the reins at R. Standard de Liège. For Pearce, it was a miserable end to a fourth successive finals at the helm.