BEAT Portugal in Lisbon, Northern Ireland in Ramat Gan, and then hope Luxembourg come back from Portugal with a win. Those are the three results Israel need to qualify for a play-off for next year’s World Cup – easier said than done. Beating Cristiano Ronaldo et al in their own backyard would rival Israel’s greatest ever 90 minutes – their 3-2 win against France in the Parc des Princes in a 1994 World Cup qualifier. Should they somehow accomplish that and then beat the Irish, they then need to hope Luxembourg do something they’ve only ever done once before – win an away World Cup qualifier. It’s fair to say the odds aren’t exactly stacked in Eli Guttman’s side’s favour. Everyone connected with the team, from the manager, players, and somewhat more expectantly, the supporters and media, have given up the ghost. They say football’s a funny old game, but it’s not that funny.
VETERAN swimmer Susan Halter continues to go from strength to strength. She warmed up for the GB Masters Short Course National Championships later in the month by claiming two more gold medals. In preparation for the Sheffield competition which takes place between 27-29 October, the 85-year-old won both the 50 and 100m backstroke races. Age really is no barrier for one of the community’s most successful ever sportspeople.
SPEAKING of swimming, the Wingate Institute in Netanya, which played host to the Maccabiah swimming tournament in the summer, could be set to host another major international competition. The hosting rights for the European Short Course Swimming Championships are up for grabs after the European Swimming Union decided to switch the tournament from December 2014 to January 2015. Israel, who has bid for the tournament in the past, will be vying with Poland and Italy.