In what may appear as a straight forward victory in their final 2018 World Cup Qualifying game, Spain went through near chaos during their time in Jerusalem.
After arriving in the ancient city on Saturday and not leaving the hotel all day, Julen Lopetegui decided that it would be a great opportunity for his players to enjoy the local sights in the evening.
Upon visiting the Western Wall (a 2000 year old wall recognised as the holiest place for Jews to pray), crowds of people saw the players and wanted to take photos with their stars. In what started harmlessly, ended in the players being pushed around in a large crowd.
Unable to stay any longer, the players were escorted back to the team bus and swept away from danger. This was expected to be the end of such ‘danger’ during La Roja’s trip to the Middle East.
After seeing their country beaten via an Illaramendi goal on Monday night, 6 Israeli ‘supporters’ charged onto the field at full time.
One individual was believed to have been carrying a knife and appeared to make a move toward Real Madrid midfielder Isco.
The Times of Israel reported the incident as follows: “He separated from the group and he hurried towards Isco. As he got closer, the knife dropped from his hands and he was detained by police before reaching Isco.”
The six men who found their way onto the pitch were detained by police following the incident and thankfully, nobody was injured in the process.
These claims of the spectator wielding a knife have since been refuted by IFA communications director Shlomi Barzel. He revealed to Marca today: “”According to all the information we have, there is no evidence or indication that a knife was carried by anyone who ran onto the field … we do not know yet where these reports have come from, they are false.”
In any case, it was a trip that appeared straight forward but in reality, there were 2 security issues for the team yet they came away without any concern and ended the qualifying campaign with a win.