Each country has the historical stories of the past, which are passed down from generation to generation and create the connection between the past and the present. One of the games that connected an entire country (about one and a half million inhabitants then in Israel), was the reciprocal meeting between Israel and Russia over the right to play in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. In the first game, Israel was defeated in Moscow, and ahead of the rematch at the Ramat Gan Stadium on July 31 of that year, an entire country was behind the Israeli team and our English coach Jack Gibbons.
These were the familiar two of the Communist Iron Curtain. The excitement was at its peak, 70,000 spectators came to the Ramat Gan stadium, an all-time record. From the early hours of the morning, tens of thousands began their journey towards the stadium. Many, especially teenagers, managed to break into the field in the standing stands, where no wall had yet been erected, and managed to overcome barbed wire fences. The Israeli lineup included Khodorov, Matanya, Kramer, Shneur, Khaledi, Rabinovich, Kaufman, Stelmach, Glazer, Rosenbaum and Mirmovich. The streets were deserted, and an entire country clung to the radio receiver to hear Nehemiah Ben Avraham broadcast on Kol Yisrael.
A history of football is mostly formed after big wins, but this game has become mythological despite the loss. It contains three record stories. The first – the injury of goalkeeper Yaakov Khodorov in the third minute, when he went out to treat his hand and for 22 minutes was replaced by defender Dudu Kramer. The huge headline was Nahum Stelmach’s goal in the 66th minute, when he equalized with a shot into the net by Lev Yashin, who is considered the greatest goalkeeper in the world, the first goal ever scored by the Israeli team at the Ramat Gan stadium.
And there was another event, which as time went on was somewhat forgotten. To which we want to return.
In the 87th minute, the Russians led 1: 2. Jerry Khaledi delivered a perfect ball between the Russian defense center and central striker Shia Glazer and left him alone six yards in front of goalkeeper Lev Yashin and the open goal. The stands held their breath, and so did an entire country listening to the radio. The comfortable, bouncing ball was kicked hard from Glazer’s right foot, but Yashin, the “Black Panther,” remained standing on his feet and did not fall to the ground. The great goalkeeper pushed the ball into the corner with his left hand and prevented a dramatic equalizer.
The headlines in the newspapers and in the sports sections cried out “Glazer missed a world sensation. In his book” Shirt No. 9 “Glazer wrote:” After the game in Moscow and in light of my weakness there, there were arguments about whether to put me in the rematch. This upset me and I decided to take matters into my own hands. Towards the end I got a great delivery, I burst forward and saw the great Yashin closing the gate for me like a tiger. I straightened my legs, kicked and Yashin raised his hands and the top. I could do 2: 2. It hurt me a lot and many started sprinkling salt on my wounds. As if I did not want to occupy Yashin’s hair. ”
The event continued to roll and grab headlines. In those years after the establishment of the state, there was a leading position in the Israeli team with a decisive and binding title – “component of the Israeli team”, a position that is a kind of professional manager plus today. He was the man who set everything aside for Coach Gibbons. The strongest man in football was Colonel Shmuel Sohar. In an interview with Kol Yisrael radio, a trader said that he was glad that Glazer did not score against Yashin, otherwise he would have reserved a place on the team for another 5 years. Glazer was then 27 and a half years old. In his book, Glazer writes: “I am not irritable by nature, but the same words of the team component burned in my heart. By one stop of Yashin the component was about to destroy my world.”
The matter was later settled in a conversation between the two, and Glazer did continue with the Israeli team for the next five years. In 1989, a nostalgic friendly match took place at the stadium in Herzliya between the players of the Israeli national team and the Russian national team in 1956. Almost all the players of that Russian national team came to Israel and with them our blue and white players. Goalkeeper Yashin sat on the line in a chair after doctors in Moscow were forced to amputate his leg. Yashin hugged Khodorov, Shneur, Stelmakh Mirmovich and Glazer in tears and said recently: “I just raised my hand, you could have scored that goal.” With the help of the Football Association and the doctor of the Israeli national team, Dr. Mark Rosnovsky, a prosthesis was installed in Israel to relieve him. In March 1990 he passed away at the age of 60.