Israel coach Alon Hazan aims to beat Kosovo in their delayed European Championship qualifying game to bring “some happiness to our people.”
This is Israel’s first soccer match since the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas and the ongoing war in Gaza, originally scheduled for Oct. 15 but postponed.
The Group I match in Pristina is held under tight security measures surrounding the Israeli team.
Hazan and captain Eli Dasa expressed feeling safe, and Hazan stated, “We will do anything we can in order to win this match…bring some happiness to our people.”
Israel is third in its group with 11 points after six games, and Hazan expects a tough game with Kosovo, stating, “We have to work very hard if we want to make our wishes (come true).” Kosovo is fourth in the group with seven points from seven games.
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Israel has never qualified for a European Championship since joining UEFA in 1994 and will now have to play four matches in 10 days.
Israel is the most recent country to have recognized Kosovo after Pristina’s Parliament declared independence from Serbia in 2008.