And then there were four….
The second set of quarterfinals provided a rare confluence of two teams which had both higher ZGWC rankings and superior soccer skills versus two teams without either.
There had been some doubt about England’s credentials and its worthiness for Zionist support. However, as reported by The Times of Israel, there was apparently widespread Palestinian support for the Swedes and great disdain for the English. Well, the enemy of my enemy is my friend, as they say. The English will be the clear ZGWC favorite in their upcoming matches. Oi.
The Swedes are out. As the lowest ranked the the sixteen teams which advanced from the group, the exit of the dour Nordics is a positive development.
The Croatia-Russia game turned out to be more menschlich and less indicative of a blood feud than expected. There were five yellow cards, but one of those was to Domagoj Vida after he took his shirt off in a goal celebration. The lack of gratuitous violence can probably be attributed to the focus of the current generation of players on their soccer skills and their professionalism and not their national histories and geopolitics. A pity, that.
Credit where credit is due to the Russians. Sure, they were awarded the World Cup through bribery. Sure, the draw was totally fixed for their benefit to produce the most cream-puff group possible. For all we know, the Russians may have even figured out a means to dope their players during the course of competition. Still, they took two of the toughest sides in the world to penalty kicks, and they beat one of them in one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history.
With the semi-finals now set, it will be the two teams with the lower ZGWC rankings and the superior depth–France and Belgium–on one side of the bracket, and the two teams with the higher ZGWC rankings and the slightly lesser depth–England and Croatia–on the other side of the bracket. It is an all-European group, three quarters of whom hail from the same corner of the Continent.
In tomorrow’s edition, we will attempt to parse out the French contest against the Belgians. In doing so, various topics may be covered, from the Anti-Dreyfusards to the Walloon Legion. Stay tuned.