Danny Newman, player-manager of England FC, praised his squad after they retained the Olim Seven-a-side World Cup in Israel.
The build up to the 12-team tournament in the Ramat Aviv stadium became a point of controversy for some, with three non-Olim sides being invited – an Israeli select team, a Palestinian team, who received permits and clearance to play a couple of days before the competition, and a refugee team from the Ivory Coast.
The England side, made up of players from Tel Aviv, Jaffa and Jerusalem, the top three sides in the JC Olim League, were drawn in the group of death alongside pre-tournament favourites USA and Scotland.
England's chances were dented when star striker Josh Portnoi missed his flight home due to the Ash cloud while a clash of heads ended Dan Kosky's tournament prematurely.
A narrow victory over Italy set up a final against the USA. A late strike from veteran Newman took the match to penalties. The decisive moment saw Simon Davies, the former Bafana Bafana keeper, deny Brad Bernstein.
Newman said: "The lads showed a never-say-die attitude, battling through pain, blisters and exhaustion. Despite being up against a couple of better sides, we showed heart and real effort, working tirelessly for each other."
England: Simon Davies, Dan Kosky, Daniel Scott, Yeffet Zairi, Yoni Sidi , David Preston, Tal Stern, Eli Warner, Danny Newman