Team Israel get exciting win over Spain to earn right to play for promotion to Group A

Israel outlasted Spain 30-23 in an exciting contest at the Kraft Family Sports Campus in Jerusalem to set up a clash with Germany for the right to play in Group A of the IFAF European Championships.

Home quarterback Zvi Greenstone was making his international debut and his first pass was intercepted then Spain capitalized as Sergio Sanchez immediately hit Javier Barrena 38 yards up the middle to trigger an early 7-0 lead.

Danny Eastman was the defensive standout for Israel and the first of his two interceptions set up a home touchdown. A steady drive combining the run and pass games and a roughing the kicker penalty on a field goal attempt gave Israel first and goal at the four-yard mark. Having been pushed back, Greenstone connected with his Judean Rebels clubmate Haim Edery on third and 11 to tie the contest at 7-7.

Growing in confidence after his early pick, Greenstone rolled out to fire a second touchdown pass to Amit Kolton, and Israel led 14-7 with five minutes remaining in the half. Immediately in reply, Alvaro Cansinos Cal returned the resulting kickoff 90 yards along left sideline for Spain touchdown, but the visitors trailed when Eastman blocked the extra point attempt.

Edery proved a handful for the Spanish defense and powered his way down to the three-yard mark from where a quick Greenstone pass to Daniel Mikhaliov opened a 20-13 lead. What looked like a decisive touchdown going into halftime came after another Eastman pick as Greenstone hit Miron Hayes over 30 yards and Mikhaliov’s PAT made it 27-13.

Spain only had 21 seconds remaining in which to reply, but Sanchez produced a 41-yard touchdown pass over the middle to Eduardo Perez and all of a sudden, the game was close again at the interval with Israel just ahead 27-20.

Mikhaliov and Luis Cereceda traded second half field goals and although Curro Cadenas produced a late interception, Spain were unable to capitalize and close the seven-point gap.

With the win, Israel will now face Team Germany in the fall to decide who advances to Group A in the IFAF European Championships.

Michael Preston (@PRMikePreston) is currently working with IFAF in a PR capacity. He recently covered Super Bowl LVII as a member of the NFL PR team as he has done for 20+ years. He has held communications positions with NFL Europe, the North