Doug Klein

Zionist’s Guide to the World Cup–Day 26

SPECIAL BONUS TRIVIA QUESTION! As a reward to our reader(s), the Zionist Guide to the World Cup (ZGWC) is proud to offer a compelling trivia question (as well as the answer—on a complimentary basis). But one must read (or skim or scroll through) today’s blog offering first….

Everyone gets what they want.

Qatar, through bribery, deceit, and cold-blooded labor management got their World Cup.

The mandarins of FIFA got their bribes.

The networks got a choice match for the finals between defending champions France and powerful Argentina.

Football fans worldwide got the chance to see the beloved Leonel Messi lead his squad against the immensely-talented Kylian Mbappe and his highly-paid compatriots.

The Arab world got the cheer on the upstart and plucky Moroccan team.

Various players from around the world got the opportunity to display their soccer skills on the biggest stage in the hope of parlaying their efforts into big money contracts with the top European clubs.

The usual mainstream American sports commentator/know-it-alls got the opportunity to repeat their quadrennial polemics against soccer—about how boring it is, how the game could be improved, and how it will never, ever catch on in the United States.

The usual suspects in the foreign press and commentariat got the opportunity to pontificate about Qatar’s homophobia and oppression of workers, while conveniently ignoring the shoddy treatment meted out to Israeli fans and fellow journalists.

Everyone got what they wanted, except, of course, for the ZGWC and its supporter(s).  The ZGWC wanted a final either between two countries that it could support wholeheartedly and without a sense of ambivalence—e.g., USA versus, say, Canada or South Korea—or between one completely favored country against a traditional villain country—e.g., USA versus Germany.  Alas, it was not to be with this edition of the World Cup. We are left with two countries who have mixed records on Israel and Jewish history. Both countries and their respective citizenry have their positives and their definite negatives.  Such is the course of Jewish history, both in the diaspora and since the establishment of the State of Israel.  Alas, this is the depressing end point for the ZGWC:  the necessity of having to choose amongst unsavory options. Sigh….

Now, onto the much anticipated trivia question….

Soccer cognoscenti, including American soccer blow hards, routinely look down on the MLS and its evident lack of quality. However, for the first time in human history, a player currently active on an MLS roster will be on a team which is playing in a World Cup final. Who is that player?

Answer:  21-year-old attacker Thiago Almada is currently on the roster of Atlanta United of the MLS. This past season, he tallied six goals and twelve assists and was named Newcomer of the Year.  Almada’s MLS exploits were sufficient to cause Argentine coach Lionel Scaloni to add him to his World Cup roster. While he has only played six minutes thus far during the World Cup, the great Leonel Messi has been very complimentary of his playing abilities. Root for him to appear on the pitch during Sunday’s final.

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