UEFA under-21 championships kick off in Israel

Teams from across Europe will compete in the 14-day tournament which attracts viewers of up to 150 million around the world.

Israel is to stage the prestigious UEFA European under-21 Championships beginning on Wednesday attracting fans from around the world, and TV audiences of an anticipated 150 million.

Teams are expected from England, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, Norway and Holland. Matches will be played in Tel Aviv, Netanya and Petah Tikvah, with the final at Jerusalem’s Teddy Stadium on June 18.

The tournament, which attracts football scouts from all over the world, consists of 15 matches. It is going ahead despite major protests by anti-Israel groups.

A number of VIPs are expected including the Italian national team coach Cesare Prandelli, the Dutch coach Louis van Gaal, England manager Roy Hodgson and former star players Gunter Netzer, Lothar Matthaus and Matthias Sammer, as well as politicians from across the continent.

Spain is considered a favourite to retain the crown they won in 2011.

About Nicky Blackburn

Editor and Israel Director, Nicky Blackburn has worked extensively as a journalist and editor both in Britain and Israel for a range of national and international publications including The Cambridge Evening News, London News, Travel Weekly, Israel High Tech Investor, and The Times of London. She was the Associate Editor at LINK Israel’s Business and Technology Magazine, and the High-Tech Correspondent for The Jerusalem Post.