England suffer second World Cup bid loss
Israel claimed the winning bid following a vote by UEFA’s Executive Committee in Nyon today, beating off competition from Bulgaria and the Czech Republic along with England and Wales.
England are still furious at FIFA’s decision to hand Russia the 2018 World Cup, with the latest result providing a further setback to the nation’s woes.
Israeli FA chairman Avi Luzon hailed the decision as one of the greatest moments of his life. "I am as excited and happy as I was when my first son was born, I hope that with this achievement Israeli soccer will receive a boost,” he said.
Israel only became members of UEFA in 1994, originally playing in the Asian Football Confederation before a switch to the Oceania section which ended prematurely.
The Middle Eastern nation lodged a bid for the 2011 Championships, eventually losing out to Denmark, and will be taking part in the tournament for only the second time in their history after qualifying for the competition in the Netherlands four years ago.
Guy Luzon, nephew of Avi and coach of the Under-21 side, heaped praise on his uncle after the victory.
“Avi Luzon is the only person in Israeli sports who could have brought UEFA’s second most prestigious competition to Israel,” he said.
“Avi always believed he could do it. I don’t know what tactics he used, but they worked.
“Now we need to prepare a worthy team. We will have plenty of new players by then and I promise we will have a good side.”
By Joe Brewin