Chelsea Women manager Emma Hayes was happy with her team’s performance against the Israeli Women’s national team, and hopes the visit has a lasting positive impact on women’s sport within the country.
As part of our pre-season campaign, the Blues travelled to Israel for a friendly match. The final score was 3-1, with Bethany England, Magdalena Eriksson and Sophie Ingle scoring the goals.
England got the first goal after five minutes when she fired home from close range, and Eriksson doubled our lead in the early stages of the second half with a superb left-footed strike that flew into the top right-hand corner.
Israel reduced the two-goal deficit on the 63rd minute with a headed effort that looped over the top of Carly Telford. Chelsea’s third goal came with fewer than 20 minutes left on the clock, when Ingle chipped cleverly over the goalkeeper.
The game was staged to celebrate women’s football and support further development of women’s sport in Israel. It took place at the Ha-Moshava Stadium, situated on the outskirts of Tel Aviv, and was sponsored by Chelsea’s owner Roman Abramovich and the Israeli FA.
Yesterday was Chelsea’s final pre-season match and our first win ahead of our opening game of the 2019/20 season against newly promoted Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge.
‘I’m happy with parts of the performance but the objective is to prepare the team for September 8 and it’s been a hard training week and a lot to take on,’ Hayes said.
‘Our ambition this week was to win the game plus push the women’s game here in Israel, and I think it was the right result for all of those things so I’m happy with that.’
The occasion was a huge success with more than 8,500 spectators attending the game, and while Hayes is pleased with the victory, she noted that a key priority of the trip was to inspire girls in Israel.
‘Of course we aim to win every game of football we play in, but this is about leaving something in this country that they can push on in, on the back of the World Cup and on the back of this visit that they can continue to invest in this sport. There is an appetite for women’s football and the numbers tonight confirmed that.’
Since landing in Tel Aviv on Saturday evening, the Blues have had an extremely busy schedule including Chelsea Foundation activities, a guided tour of Jerusalem, as well as media activity and the usual demanding pre-season training regime.
And with Hayes being heavily involved in all aspects, especially as a Chelsea Foundation trustee, she highlighted a couple of things that stood out for her.
‘I think the coaching session was really a lot of fun with the kids on the first day and I also enjoyed doing the coach education workshop with 20-25 Israeli coaches.
‘I think at the Peres Peace Centre there was a lot of good conversation around the work that needs to be done for the next generation, and how regardless of politics, religion and anything else, football is the main driver to promote integration and interaction between people.’