In upset, Israel U-21 soccer team qualifies for European Championship quarterfinals

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Israel’s Under-21 soccer team pulled off a shock win over the Czech Republic to qualify for the European Championship quarterfinals on Wednesday.

Israel went into the evening bottom of its group that included favorites England and defending champions Germany. Israel had to beat the Czechs and hope that England, who had already qualified, would defeat Germany.

Israel’s Omri Gandelman scored in the 82nd minute to give Israel a 1-0 win.

England also beat Germany 2-0 to see the Israelis leapfrog into second place and qualify for the last eight, where they will meet Georgia.

In their previous two games, Israel had lost to England and drawn with Germany.

The Israeli team will next face Georgia on Saturday.

The contest is being hosted by Georgia and Romania.

The European success continues an impressive summer for Israeli soccer following the heroics of the Under-20 team at the World Cup in Argentina, where they took third place.

Throughout the weeks-long tournament, the Israeli squad pulled off a series of improbable wins, including a shock victory over powerhouse Brazil in the quarterfinals.

This year marked Israel’s first-ever trip to the U-20 World Cup. Its lone trip to the main World Cup in 1970 ended without a single win.

The tournament was held in Argentina after Indonesia was stripped of its spot as host and participant amid protests in the Muslim-majority country against hosting the Israeli team.

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