Oded Karni

A Winning Spirit

For many soccer teams, victory is measured by the number of goals on the field or trophies on the shelf. But for this one, it’s measured in spirit: Namely, the spirit of unity, and of good sportsmanship and mutual respect.

On Israel’s national football team, there are Jewish and Arab players and a Circassian captain too, all of whom proudly wear the uniform that represents their country to the world. And there are tens of thousands of fans, none of whom will forget the legendary Euro 2020 qualifying tournament against Austria last year.

The Austrians were in the lead. Yet in quick succession, Eran Zahavi scored three goals, passing to teammate Moanes Dabour at the last second for a fourth. The score? Israel-Austria 4-1. But as the stadium’s 16,000 fans cheered, the players knew the real winner was the power of partnership — a power even the best defense can never overcome.