Welcome to the Israel / Gaza border for live coverage of the Israel – Palestine international, one of the oldest fixtures on the calendar. The match oozes history and is expected to be keenly contested though Israel has started favourites in every contest since 1939. The one levelling factor might be the irregular shaped pitch with Israel’s half being 20,000 square kilometres, while Palestine’s is a 360 square kilometre strip.
The big team news is that thanks to a huge cash injection from its American backer, Israel is fielding a formidable strike force of Messi, Ronaldo, and Rooney. With captain Netanyahu and Terry in midfield, and a home grown ‘Iron Dome’ defence, they look a match for anyone.
For their part, Palestine are going through a rebuilding phase with many leading players losing interest in football and retiring. Their best hope is that their young recruits from Iran play out of their skin and leave it all out on the pitch.
1” Referee Tony Blair blows the whistle and Israel have possession. The opening minutes are all Israel as they launch an aerial bombardment from their own half. It’s precision stuff but Israel may be missing a Peter Crouch type player (but with coordination) up front.
7” GOAL! 1-0. Scenes of carnage as Netanyahu blindsides the Palestinian captain Al-Jaabari with a flying two-footed tackle. Referee Blair inexplicably waves play on and Ronaldo lobs the keeper from 38 kilometres out for the opening goal. Al-Jaabari is stretchered off with what looks like a career ending injury.
17” Palestine are all fired up after the loss of their leader and enjoy a good spell where they too try the aerial route. However most of their kicks are ill-directed with one hitting a hot dog vendor in the crowd splattering tomato sauce over some of their own supporters.
23” GOAL! 2-0. Blair misses a possible offside to the disgust of the Palestinians and the neutrals, and the long ball from Terry leaves Rooney clear on goal from 18 kilometres out – he makes no mistake. One of the Iranian imports blows up at the ref but Blair manages to dodge the shrapnel and body parts.
32” It is all Israel at the moment and their support is in full flight chanting ‘we’re on our way to Jerusalem’ and ‘Hamas takes it up the arse’. Palestine really need to find ways to kick the ball further and straighter or else they might as well give up.
45” PENALTY! Further chaos in what is an ill-tempered match as Blair points to the spot saying Palestine have an illegal weapon of mass destruction on their bench – the Palestinians protest that it is only Emile Heskey but the referee is unmoved. Messi takes the penalty and MISSES!
HALF TIME. Despite their aerial dominance, there are rumours that Israel will change tack and field 75,000 reservists in the second half. It looks like it will be a tough day at the office for Palestine.