In a flash, half of the knockout round has been completed. So far, the results have not been favorable for the underdogs in each match. In fact, the results have been downright lousy for them. The USA, Australia, Poland, and Senegal all lost by somewhat embarrassing score lines. In today’s action, France defeated Poland, 3-1, and England blanked Senegal, 3-0. For what it is worth, Poland’s goal came on a very late penalty kick which occurred after the six minutes of allotted stoppage time had elapsed. For its part, Senegal looked good early in their match. They nearly claimed the opening goal, and it appeared for a fleeting moment that football might be coming home. To Dakar. But that moment swiftly passed, and the Three Lions took total control of the match.
Today’s games set up quarterfinal matches later this week featuring the Netherlands versus Argentina and England versus France. (See: Battle of Agincourt)
Tomorrow’s matches include Japan versus Croatia and Brazil versus South Korea.
The Japanese have traditionally been favored by the Zionist’s Guide to the World Cup (ZGWC), and this year is no exception. Whether it is the tradition of Chiune Sugihara and the approximate 6,000 Jews he saved from the Shoah or the recent course of diplomatic relations between Israel and Japan, the Japanese are reliable stalwarts for ZGWC affections. As for their opponents, the Croatians present a true test case of ZGWC metrics and methods. During World War II, Croatia was a fascist puppet state, and the fascist Ustase ran camps like Jasenovac which were every bit as brutal as those run by the Nazis. On the other hand, since the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, Croatia has proved itself to be a consistent diplomatic supporter of Israel and Israeli interests both in Europe and in the United Nations. So while there may be an instinctual, historic reluctance (perhaps even revulsion) in cheering for the Croatians at the World Cup, this sentiment needs to be balanced with current day realities. For instance, in last week’s United Nations General Assembly vote to commemorate the Nakba (which cause the ZGWC to sour on Senegal), Croatia voted against the resolution. Conversely, Japan voted to abstain. As such, the choice between Japan and Croatia is subject to debate and to an honest difference of opinion. At the end of the day, the choice comes down to a gestalt, and that gestalt mandates favoring Japan.
As for Brazil and South Korea, the latter gets the nod. Brazil was originally given a thumbs up by the ZGWC, but that was before the recent election of Lula da Silva and his Workers’ Party. Jair Bolsonara, the outgoing president of Brazil, was reviled by many in the west as being a crypto-fascist and a Brazilian version of Donald Trump, if you will. For all of his obvious faults (which reportedly include some extremely questionable views about the Shoah), he was largely supportive of Israel and Israeli interest in his public statements and actions. As for Lula, well let’s consider some of the individuals who endorsed him in the recent elections, to wit:
Jeremy Corbin, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Nicholas Maduro (the dictator of Venezuela), Daniel Ortega (the former revolutionary and president of Nicaragua), Miguel Diaz-Canel (the president of Cuba and first secretary of the Cuban Communist Party) and Gabriel Boric (the anti-Israel president of Chile).
If one is to be judged by the company one keeps, then Lula’s presidency should raise all sorts of red flags. In fact, it probably already has proudly raised lots of red flags. The foreign policy of a Lula-led Brazil can be expected to be anti-Israel, both in word and deed. In these circumstances, it becomes necessary to root against A Seleção. Though not nearly as talented as the Brazilians, the plucky South Koreans are favored.