Israel opens World Cup playoffs today against Japan

SURREY, ENGLAND — The Israel women’s national team finished pool play at the FIL World Cup with a commanding 18-0 win over Belgium to earn first-place in Pool C with a 4-0 record.

The excellent play of the blue-and-white has set the tone for their next contest and put them in a similar position to the previous World Cup where they faced Japan in a high-stakes game.

Co-captain Sarah Meisenberg, who was a member of the 2013 team, knows the challenge that lies ahead in today’s game. “Four years ago, we lost to Japan in double overtime, after having a commanding first half lead. They are fast, quick, disciplined and have their own unique style of play that we haven’t yet seen in our first four games this year. We are coming into the game with a well thought out game plan, and a team ready to run with Japan. We are looking forward to a great competition.”

After hearing her teammates’ reflection on the last meeting with Japan four years ago, co-captain Courtney Miller believes this is the perfect match-up. “I’m excited to be part of such a versatile and strong team that is absolutely capable of achieving a different outcome and redeeming ourselves after the last time Israel faced Japan. I’m also looking forward to this part of the tournament; it’s exactly what we’ve been working so hard for.”

Asked about her team’s accomplishments so far, head coach Lauren Norris, who led Israel to an 8th-place finish in their first World Cup appearance took the opportunity to recognize the bigger picture. “The World games are such an exciting time as we get to play against great competition, but also learn from other teams and bond with them as we compete in this amazing tournament. We are so grateful to the teams we have been able to play, for their competitiveness and the growth it has provided for us as a team and for the sport. We are looking forward to the tournament play and we are excited for the competition that lies ahead.”

The 8th-ranked Israel team will meet 9th-ranked Japan (who are also 4-0) in a first-round playoff match at 3:00 PM local / 5:00 PM Israel / 10:00 AM ET today. The winner will earn a spot in the World Cup Quarterfinals on Wednesday.

Fans can watch the game live (PPV) at

Thu, Jul 13 – Israel 17, Netherlands 3
Fri, Jul 14 – Israel 16, Czech Republic 8
Sun, Jul 16 – Israel 18, China 0
Mon, Jul 17 – Israel 18, Belgium 0
Tue, Jul 18 at 3:00 PM – Israel vs. #9 Japan (first-round playoff)
*Quarterfinals are on July 19th