Zionist’s Guide To The World Cup—Day 8

Whither Argentina?

When we shot the Zionist’s Guide To The World Cup video, Argentina received a big thumbs up and for good reason. It was no small matter for La Albiceleste to schedule their last friendly before the Big Dance with The Blues and Whites. Coming on the heels of the Giro d’Italia, the anticipated match with Israel was an optimistic sign of the normalization of Israel in the face of persistent and vicious stigmatization at the hands of the so-called BDS movement.

The Argentinian Football Association deserved credit for their scheduling decision.  For many weeks, they resisted various campaigns to get them to change plans.  While the change of venue from Haifa to Jerusalem did not help matters (at all), the death threats and the bloodied jerseys pushed the players over the edge.  Who can blame them?  These men are professional soccer players who have dreamed of World Cup glory since their earliest days in cleats.  The controversy that erupted around their friendly in Israel was not their fault.  Further, on the eve of the biggest competition for themselves and their country, they should not be blamed for opting to focus on their preparation instead of being thrust into the midst of a political maelstrom.

This is not to say that international soccer is not connected with international politics.  It very clearly is.  However, we did not change our video or our support for Argentina in the wake of the cancellation.

With or without the Israel friendly imbroglio, the World Cup stage appears to hold too much pressure for this Argentine side to handle.  One need only look at Leonel Messi during the playing of the Argentinian national anthem to see this pressure at work.  He had a hand covering his face, seemingly lost in thought and self-doubt.

Three goals from a hard-charging Croatian team confirmed those doubts today.

In the other games, the Australians gained a precious point against the phlegmatic Danes to keep their slim hopes of advancement alive.  The French, though, ended the hopes of the valiant Peruvians, 1-0.

Tomorrow’s slate features Brazil vs. Costa Rica, Nigeria vs. Iceland, Serbia vs. Switzerland, and a rant against Scandanavia.

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