In first since 1976, Israel's national soccer team heads to 2024 Olympic games

Israel will take part in the Olympic games for the third time in history following England's victory in the UEFA European Under-21 Championship quarter-finals

Dennis Bihler|
Israel's under-21 national soccer team qualified Sunday for the Paris Olympics in 2024 after England overcame Portugal in the UEFA European Under-21 Championship quarter-finals with a 1-0 victory.
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The Blue and Whites, who clinched a spot in the semi-finals of the Under-21 Championship on Saturday night after a nail-biting penalty shootout victory 4-3 over tournament host Georgia, will also represent Israel in the Olympic games for the first time since 1976, and only the third time in history.
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דניאל פרץ
דניאל פרץ
Israel's under-21 national soccer team celebrates a victory
(Photo: Asi Kipper, Israel Football Association)
Only three youth European national teams automatically qualify for the next Olympic Games, which will be held in the capital of France next year. However, England couldn't receive a spot since the Olympic team represents Great Britain rather than individual constituent countries. Therefore, Israel will be among the three teams to receive an Olympic berth.
France also already guaranteed a spot as the host of the Olympics, thus if the team beats Ukraine and advances to the semifinals, the fifth-place team also will receive a spot, and its identity will be determined in a decisive match between the two losing teams in the quarterfinals with the best records, Ukraine against Georgia.
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החגיגה בכחול-לבן
החגיגה בכחול-לבן
The Blue and Whites after their win over Georgia
(Photo: EPA/Yuri Kochentkov)
The Olympic men's football tournament differs from other Olympic sports in that it is limited to players under the age of 23, with the addition of three older players. The age restriction for participants was implemented in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics when restrictions on the participation of professional players in the Olympics were lifted. This was a requirement by FIFA to avoid competition between the Olympic tournament and the FIFA World Cup.
Israel's national soccer team has reached the Olympic Games twice in its history. The first time was in Mexico City in 1968. The team reached the quarter-finals of the tournament but was eliminated by Bulgaria in a draw after a 1-1 result at the end of 90 minutes. In the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, Israel made it to the quarter-finals once again, but the team ended its journey with a 4-1 loss to Brazil.
Israel, which lost 0-2 to England during the group stage, will meet the Young Lions in the semi-final which will be held on Wednesday.
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