The ten-days of European Soccer euphoria that has taken Israel by storm is coming to a close with final match between Italy and Spain at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem.
Ron Jacobsohn, JN1 Correspondent:
The 10-days of European Soccer euphoria that has taken Israel by storm is coming to a close with final match between Italy and Spain at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem.
Starting the final day, UEFA president, Michel Platini, and Vice President, Giancarlo Abete, held a press conference talking about the huge success of the tournament thanking the Israeli organizers and withholding any negative comments from some members of the press who tried to get out of them a reaction about the Palestinian protest about holding the tournament in Israel.
Giancarlo Abete, UEFA Vice President:
The task of UEFA is to make sure the football is played everywhere, the children can play football, that youngsters can play football weather its in Israel or in Palestine or in Italy or in Spain or wherever. Football has to be beyond any other, other political reflection and we have to bring joy to everywhere in the world.
The Minister for Culture and Sports, Limor Livnat, was applauding UEFA for not giving in to the pressure about not having the tournament in Israel
Limor Livnat, Israeli Minister for Culture and Sports
People sometimes think that in Israel people are going and shooting in the streets and that’s the State of Israel but it’s not true. We are celebrating, we live here , we love our country, its a beautiful country. We need to thank UEFA and the President of UEFA, Michel Platini, for bringing this Euro-Under-21 to Israel and we proved that we did as much as we can and deliver.
At Teddy Stadium around 32000 people gathered to watch the ultimate feast of European soccer played on Israeli soil as they came from near and very far.
Yair Levy (Lehavim):
I came here with forty of my friends from Lehavim, which is near to Beer Sheva, and it took us two-hours. I like football and I am a fan of Spain. I love to see beautiful goals and you know…
Alon Tawill (Mexico):
From Mexico, I leave Sunday, Sunday night and arrived here at four in the morning today. I love soccer very much.
Following the match we caught up with the tournaments MVP, Spain’s Thiago Alcantara, the man who single handedly brought the victory for his team, who had only good things to say about his Israeli experience.
Thiago Alcantara, Spanish National Team
it was amazing, the people here have taken care of us so well and we enjoyed it so much. I will come in the future on holidays here. We are here in Israel to play football to win this kind of trophies and we are so glad to win it.
Michal Grundland, who was responsible for all the publicity during the tournament on behalf of the Israeli Football Association felt bitter-sweet about the end.
Michal Grundland, Israeli Football Association:
The Israeli fans showed the world that they love football and I am just hoping for them to stay our stadiums for local matches. It was a successful tournament, we are really happy to show the nice Israel all over the world. We can smile, we can breathe and we can maybe can get some rest.
Ron Jacobsohn, JN1 Correspondent:
So incumbent winner, Spain, won again this time the 2013 U-21 European Championship for 4th time in its history and Israel is winding down from the illuminated atmosphere of hosting the tournament, now all eyes are turning towards the Czech Republic who will host the next U-21 tournament in 2015.
For JN1 I am Ron Jacobsohn at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem