Zionist’s Guide to the World Cup–Day 17

The slaughter of the innocents — or in this case, the slaughter of second place finishers in the World Cup group stage — continues unabated in Qatar.  Today, it was the turn of Japan and South Korea to taste defeat at the hands of Croatia and Brazil, respectively. The strong endorsement of the Zionist’s Guide to the World Cup (ZGWC) of the pair of East Asian soccer powers counted for nothing. Apparently.

In the first game, the Blue Samurai seized the early lead, but the dogged Croatians fought back and equalized early in the second half.  The tie persisted until regulation time and extra time expired.  At that point, the Japanese finally collapsed under pressure as they missed three of their four penalty kicks.  The Croatians only missed one.

The second game saw the Brazilians score early and score often against the overmatched Taegeuk Warriors of South Korea.  The Brazilians cruised to victory, 4-1.  Not only did the Brazilians send a warning to all of the other remaining teams in the World Cup draw, but they also continued the streak of first place finishers advancing to the quarterfinals.

Tomorrow sees an enticing match nicknamed (by the ZGWC) “Reconquista 2.0,” as Spain faces off against a very hot Moroccan squad.  La Roja will reportedly not have El Cid available for the match.  For their part, the Atlas Lions have ditched the Almoravids in favor of the likes of Hakim Ziyech and Achraf Hakimi.  As a result of the Abraham Accords, the Moroccans have, to date, been amongst the darlings of the ZGWC.  The Spanish have traditionally been disfavored by the ZGWC because of certain events which followed the Reconquista, i.e., the Expulsion and the Inquisition.  It should be noted, though, that the Spanish have made some efforts at teshuva.  Anti-BDS legislation has been passed by various governmental entities.  In addition, Spain voted against the recent UN General Assembly resolution to commemorate the Nakba.  The Moroccan government, though, voted for it.  These developments do leave the ZGWC in a bit of a quandary.  We will therefore cheer for the Moroccans, but not as much as we could, and we will cheer against the Spanish, but not as much as we should.

The final game of the knockout rounds sees an unappetizing match between Portugal and Switzerland.  The ZGWC gave a thumbs down rating to both, but it is not possible for them both to lose the game.  Apparently.  The ZGWC will have to decide on one of these two unsavory sides.  In the aforementioned UN vote, Switzerland voted no on the resolution, while Portugal abstained.  That is a very fine margin.  This might lead one to conclude that the ZGWC is opting for Switzerland, but such a decision will give the ZGWC an upset tummy.  Visions of Swiss national Sepp Blatter come to mind, and this sours any chance of cheering for Switzerland.  At this critical juncture, the visions of Sepp are supplanted by visions of  Aristides de Sousa Mendes, the Portuguese consul general of Bordeaux who saved perhaps 10,000 Jews during the Shoah.  We will err on the side of the Portuguese.  And take an antacid.

About the Author
Doug Klein is an attorney in Chicago and the wrestling coach at Ida Crown Jewish Academy.
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