Israel Undeterred for Denmark Clash

The national soccer team left for Copenhagen in the early hours of this morning ahead of Wednesday's friendly international with Denmark.

Asher Goldberg
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Asher Goldberg

The national soccer team left for Copenhagen in the early hours of this morning ahead of Wednesday's friendly international with Denmark.

The game is likely to be held amid a spate of political demonstrations against Israel by Palestinians, which led IFA chairman Gavri Levi to consider canceling the trip because of the hostile reception they can expect beyond the soccer fraternity. He consulted with Karmi Gillon, the Israeli ambassador to Denmark, and heard that all of Denmark's own players would be playing, with none deciding to skip the game for fear of violence or possible terrorist actions near the Parken stadium. Another factor in deciding to go ahead was the fact that the Danish prime minister and some of his ministers will also attend the game.

The team will have its first training session today but in view of threats of demonstrations and violence from Palestinians in Copenhagen, the team's hotel has been switched and will be under intense security guard.

The training session will also be tightly guarded and the police plan to prevent any Palestinians from accessing the still unnamed ground where the session is to be held.

The team leaves for Denmark without several key players and with the memory of two stinging defeats in 1999, when the Danes won 5-0 and 3-0 to qualify for Euro 2000.

Eyal Berkovic and Idan Tal were joined on the injured list by Shimon Gershon and Tal Banin and their place will be taken by Yaniv Katan and Tal Ben-Haim. In the absence of both Berkovic and Banin, Avi Nimni will wear the captain's armband.

In other news, the under-21 team leaves for Sofia this morning for a game on Wednesday against its Bulgarian counterparts.



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