ISRU19

Picture: Courtesy of Israel Football Association

Israel’s U19 women’s team have got their UEFA European Women’s Under-19 Championship campaign off to a losing start after they were beaten 3-0 by Sweden.

The hosts were playing their first ever match in the tournament, though two goals from Stina Blackstenius, along with Nathalie Bjorn’s strike, sent them to with a resounding loss in their Group A opener in Lod on Wednesday night.

Their misery was compounded by the 80th minute dismissal of Shahar Nakav, wh picked up two bookings.

Coach Guy Azouri said: “We don’t like to lose, but we played against a global powerhouse. Sweden is one of the most physical teams in Europe. We knew there were gaps between the teams and we never denied them.

“However, we saw a group of girls who nevertheless competed tonight. We may have struggled to create scoring opportunities, but our team never capitulated. We didn’t give up at any stage. Two years ago we wouldn’t have managed to get out of our own box against a team like this. The girls fought for 90 minutes and I couldn’t ask for anything more from them.”

Israel next take on France in Netanya on Saturday, before returning to Lod to complete their group campaign against Denmark. The two top sides from both groups will advance to the semi-finals.