From: Futbolmetrix
Date: 28 November 2001
Subject: Israel - Austria [R/C]

OK, here comes the report from RSS's voice in in Ramat

Israel         -             Austria         1-1
Gershon(p) 55'
                            Herzog 91'

This was one of the few games that has been really worth seeing
since I arrived here, so I dished out my 132 NIS (approx $35)
to get myself what was supposed to be a numbered seat
in the central stand. Well, it was neither numbered
nor central, but it was a good place after all. I arrived
at the stadium about 10 minutes before kickoff, just
when they were about to play the national anthems.

Now - how to put it mildly? - Israel doesn't really have
a particularly warm and loving attitude towards
Austria and the Austrians in general. Add to that
the Austrians' desperate attempts to get this match
rescheduled or delayed, with all sorts of childish excuses...
well, despite desperate pleas not to boo, I didn't
really get to hear what the Austrian
national  anthem sounds like. Too bad, I've been told
it's a Mozart tune. When the Israeli anthem played,
a massive display of Israeli flags and patriotism. Better
in a football match than somewhere else. Despite the flags
and everything, the Israeli crowd doesn't really give
much of a home field advantage. The stands are quite far
away from the pitch, and there is no sustained chanting.
The "El - el - Isra-el" chant is pretty much equivalent to
"U-S-A, U-S-A".

So after the initial excitement, the match settles down
pretty quickly. Otto Baric's psychological warfare seems
to have been effective, as the Israeli team is very nervous,
and in the first 15 minutes Austria comes close two or three times,
just missing by inches the final pass. Revivo is nowhere to be seen,
Berkovic is marked off the field, and Israel can't create any chances.

Midway through the first half Banin, the Israeli captain (ex Brescia and
Cannes) is injured, and is subbed by Everton benchwarmer Idan Tal.
He's a much better player than Banin, and his entry is beneficial: Israel
slowly starts to take control of the midfield, and creates a couple of
half chances before the half.

In the second half it's more of the same. Israel is now attacking the goal
closest to my seat.  Israel maintains a slight advantage
in ball possession, but not much more. Revivo has a good chance on the
right side of the box, but stupidly tries to get past a defender rather
than trying a right-footed shot and gets himself injured. That's bad news
Israel, but he had been totally ineffective up to that point. The good news
is that he is replaced by Yaniv Katan, who is at least a pure centerforward,
and Nimni can be moved to a more natural role of support striker.

In fact, that's exactly what happens. The first ball Nimni
receives facing the goal, he chests it past an Austrian
defender, who trips him from behind as he enters the box.
Penalty. It looks as if Berkovic is going to take it (he's going to
miss it!), but Hapoel Tel Aviv defender Gershon walks up slowly
to the spot, takes the ball away from Berkovic (he's going to
miss it too!), and calmly sends Wohlfahrt one way and the ball
the other. 1-0 Israel.

The Austrians react vehemently, and in the next five minutes
close Israel into their half. But the Israeli defence
handles the pressure well. All the Austrians can muster
are some long range shots: a couple are dangerous,
but Israeli goalie Dudu Awat does his job OK. On the
other end, Israel is now dangerous on the counter:
Yaniv Katan blows and easy chance, Nimni and Berkovic
mess up a couple of good chances, and Ben Dayan even hits
the post. Then, around teh 85th minute, Nimni manages
to get away once again from the Austrian defender,
(this time on the right hand side, right under my eyes)
who literally mugs him to the floor. In real time,
that looked like a 100% penalty. Play on, calls the
referee. Nimni stays on the ground, only to fall down
again when Wohlfahrt walks up to him menacingly, while
the ball is being played in midfield. The referee
stops play, and takes out a yellow for Wohlfahrt. Well,
if he saw Wohlfahrt committing a foul worthy of a yellow,
inside the box, *that* must be a penalty! No, moments
later he takes out the yellow for Nimni as well, and
awards Austria a free-kick inside their own penalty area.
Hmmm... fishy decision.

Still, Israel is managing to hold off the Austrian
attacks. In the 90th minute, though, Berkovic and
Tal lose a ball in the Austrian half, and the
Austrians are able to mount an infuriatingly quick
counterattack. How can you leave them so much space
at this stage of the match? It turns out that the
counterattack is not particularly dangerous, but Melo
Pereira catches an off the ball foul by Gershon on an
Austrian forward, on the edge of the penalty box,
right in the middle. This is dangerous. This is bad.
Vastic is on the ball. He can curl it in with his right
foot. Herzog is on the ball, he can curl it in with his
left foot. Wohlfahrt walks up to the ball. Will he do a
Chilavert? This is very bad. It's at the far end of the
field, but I see Awat telling the players in the wall
to jump. There I go thinking "Herzog is smart. He's going
to take a low drive, underneath the wall, and Awat will have
no chance"... and so it is. 1-1. Austria goes on to
face Turkey. Israel stays home, among hilarious recriminations,
finger-pointing, and hysterical cries for Nilsen's
resignation, due to the "colossal failure" of missing the

People here should realize that Israel is a third-tier
European team: the luck of the draw gave them a good chance
to make it to the playoffs (where they would have been buried
by Turkey). It's totally absurd to expect Israel to play like
Brazil and thrash Austria 5-0 every time. Even if they
had held on to the 1-0 lead, they would have been criticized
for an uninspired game. Israelis have to learn
to appreciate hard fought 1-0 wins, maybe the result
of a penalty or a fluke shot and 60 minutes of good
old fashioned catenaccio ("bunker" in Hebrew). Until that
happens, there will always be a Herzog who scores
the decisive goal in the 91st minute.

From: Futbolmetrix
Date: 28 October 2001
Subject: Re: Israel - Austria [R/C]

> OK, here comes the report from RSS's voice in in Ramat
> Gan.
> Israel         -             Austria         1-1
> Gershon(p) 55'
>                             Herzog 91'

Oh yeah, I forgot to add. I got home and realized
that Juve wasn't even able to beat Inter at home.
Futbol sucks.