Israel 1 – 3 Chelsea: Women Soccer Magic

656073 Photo Credit: Chelsea FC

In last night’s (Tuesday, August 21st) Friendly match in the Moshava Stadium in Israel, the Israeli National Women’s team hosted the Women of English Premier League Chelsea F.C. Beyond the fantastic display of football and skill on the pitch, there’s was a buzzing atmosphere in the stands that was way beyond a friendly match. 

Gentlemen and Ladies (yeah, ladies especially!!): Women’s soccer is big, getting bigger, and it’s here to stay.

Women Soccer Here to Stay

Women Soccer Here to Stay (Photo Credit: Israeli FA)

For a while now the women’s soccer has been on the up.  From worldwide events like the Women’s World Cup, to top-flight teams and leagues around the world – the Women’s version of the beautiful game is growing in budgets, talent and following around the world.

Over 8.500 spectators at the Moshava Stadium.

Over 8.500 spectators at Moshava Stadium.

Last night’s friendly match in with the Israeli National Team hosting the Chelsea Women F.C. was anything but friendly, with intense rivalry, athleticism and skill bursting on all sides of the field.  And no less impressive were the stands, with 8,500 fans turning up to watch the game and celebrate woman’s football.

Rivalry at the stands: Chelsea vs. Israel fans.

Rivalry at the stands: Chelsea vs. Israel fans.

The Israeli ladies came to this game facing a side that is more experienced and skilled, playing and training together as a team all through.  And the guests from England showed their might from the first minute of the game.  Still, the hosts came prepared, and despite the Blues attacking relentlessly and spending most of the night inside Israel’s half, the Israeli Woman held their ground defensively, created chances and even managed to score one goal (although as luck has it, they could have scored at least one, if not two more).

Early on, Chelsea’s Bethany England, whom was also invited on the match day to play for England’s National Team, took advantage of some confusion in Israeli territory that ended in a deflection from one of the Israeli players.  England got hand of the ball and scored the opening goal of the match from close range (6’).

Although mostly busy with defending, the hosts did get their first opportunity 27 minutes into the first half, with 22 year-old midfielder Shahar Nakav playing a long pass to right-winger Shira Elinav who shot from a distance.  Although on target, it was gathered easily by the Chelsea goalkeeper Berger.

Early in the second half, the Blues doubled their lead with a wonder shot from Chelsea captain Magdalena Eriksson.  The Swedish international came from outside of the box, with a top-right shot into goal, outside the reach of Israeli goalkeeper Amit Cohen.

But around 10 minutes later, the Israelis came back with a beautifully synchronized game of soccer.  Daniel Sofer showed powerful pace and managed to get around Eriksson, then sending a great cross to striker Vered Cohen who looped a header into the goal past Chelsea keeper Telford.

 


Although the game did heat up later in the second half, and both teams drove momentum and reached some goal-scoring opportunities, on the 73rd minute, the Chelsea Ladies sealed the deal, with midfielder Ji So-yun with a fantastic back-heal pass across the Israeli defence and into running Sophie Ingle, who scored the last goal of the night.

All it all, it was a fantastic night out, and more so a great night of soccer – and not “just” women’s soccer.  There is something about the skill, talent, team effort and mostly intensity and mentality of the players and coaches alike that adds magic to women playing the beautiful game.   And last night was exactly that – beautiful magic.