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Israel can be proud, says Platini

    Favourites Spain turned on the style in Israel. Photo: David Katz
    Favourites Spain turned on the style in Israel. Photo: David Katz

    Uefa president Michel Platini this week described the Euro under-21 finals in Israel as a resounding success.

    Pre-tournament favourites Spain retained the title with a 4-2 victory over Italy in a pulsating final at Teddy stadium to end a highly successful tournament for the Israeli organisers.

    Nearly 30,000 fans came to the newly-enlarged Jerusalem stadium to see Thiago Alcantara’s hat-trick underline Spanish superiority in the most important and largest international sports competition ever held in Israel, outside of the Maccabiah Games.

    While the host nation failed to progress beyond the group stage, Israel’s biggest success came off the pitch with Mr Platini, who spent the last week of the tournament in Israel, lavish in his praise. “The championship was fantastically organised and Israel can be proud,” he said.

    "The stadia are wonderful, the atmosphere was great with so many families enjoying the football and the players tell me that the pitches were of the highest quality.

    "The facilities that were built will provide a football heritage for the next 20 years. Overall I give Israel 9.5 out of 10."

    FA chairman David Bernstein was also impressed. "It's a great credit to Israel for the way they've run this competition, it has been superb,” he said. "It's a really important tournament for them.

    "It's not often they get this opportunity and I’ve been very impressed by them, as have the players who have enjoyed first-class hospitality."

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