Needing just a draw to finish third in the group and qualify for the New Zealand tournament, Eli Ochana’s side were beaten 2-1 by hosts Hungary, despite missing a host of chances to secure what would have been a priceless draw.
Believing his side were unlucky to lose, manager Eli Ohana said: “The better team didn’t win today. The difference was they scored when they had the chances – and they didn’t have that many – while we created four, five or six chances in the second half but their goalkeeper was in excellent form. We did everything but score, but in football you need a bit of luck; on its own it is not enough, but when you play well and create chances you need a little bit of luck which we missed today.”
Dor Hugy’s had headed in Israel’s 36th minute equaliser – their only goal of the tournament – and said: “My goal was beautiful but unfortunately no one will remember it because we did not achieve our overall aim I want to thank all the fans that were cheering for us: they pushed us and believed all along we could do it.
“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.
“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. 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.”
Dor Peretz, the team’s captain said: “We don’t have enough words to explain how we feel.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.”