Israel Loses Bid for World Cup

Israel’s national soccer team narrowly failed to qualify for the World Cup games in Rome next year, but they thrilled millions of fans nevertheless by holding the vaunted Colombian team to a 0-0 draw at Ramat Gan Stadium on Monday.

The game was a rematch between the two teams, the Colombian 11 having beaten Israel 1-0 in Colombia two weeks ago. That left Israel behind its rival in overall points, which its players were unable to recoup.

The tie was next best to victory for the 50,000 fans who jammed the stadium, and the Israeli television audience estimated as high as a million, about a quarter of Israel’s population.

A motion to cancel the Knesset’s afternoon session so that members could watch the match was defeated after sharp debate in the morning.

But the Knesset session saw more empty seats than people, as most deputies were in the Knesset cafeteria watching the game on television.

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