Israel to face World Cup champions Germany in friendly match
The countries plan to celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations with 90 minutes on the pitch.
It's been more than 40 years since Israel's national soccer team has qualified for the FIFA World Cup, but that doesn't mean the team isn't making strides in the right direction. They came in third in qualifying for this year's tournament (behind Russia and Portugal), and they won a friendly match against Honduras in June in the United States.
Israel's first match in UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying will take place on Sept. 9, 2014, against powerhouse Belgium, but there's an even more exciting date on the horizon, as World Cup-winning Germany has agreed to meet Israel on the pitch in Haifa on March 25, 2015, for a friendly match. Israel will host Wales three days later on March 28, 2015, in a Euro 2016 qualifying match.
“The Israeli and German associations cooperate on many matters," Israel Football Association chairman Avi Luzon said in a statement. "We have an excellent relationship, and I’m sure this match will be a great experience for the Israeli fans.”
The friendly match has been organized to mark 50 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Facing off with the world champs will be a massive test for an Israeli team that's still building toward the future, but one that should bring a lot of eyes to the future of Israel's football program. The teams last squared off in 2012.
“It’s a great honor and massive challenge to face one of the best teams in the world," said Israel National Team manager Eli Guttman. "I’m sure that everyone who comes to the match will enjoy some quality play.”
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