Doug Klein

Zionist’s Guide to the World Cup–Opening Match

And so it begins…

On Sunday, host nation Qatar will take on Ecuador in the first salvo of a month-long barrage of international soccer.  Aside from all of the other problems with the World Cup, we are still left with the simple inevitable question, to wit:  who should you cheer for?

For all of their obvious faults and moral failings, the organizers of the 2022 World Cup did the Zionist’s Guide to the World Cup a solid with this opening match-up.  Sunday’s match between Qatar and Ecuador is no-brainer.  One can wrap oneself in yellow, blue and red and cheer on La Tri of Ecuador.

Ecuador has good relations with Israel, as exemplified by President Guillermo Lasso’s high profile May 2022 visit to Israel.  Moreover, in the wake of  recent elections in Colombia and Brazil (not to mention the existing governments of Argentina and Chile), Ecuador is arguably the best South American country for Israeli interests.   Ecuador had to face such soccer powerhouses as Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile in order secure World Cup qualification from South America.  They are a youngish squad with some potential to be a spoiler in Group A.

Qatar, on the other hand, can be rooted against without any self-doubt.  The run-up to this month’s global competition has highlighted the host nation’s corruption, venality, hypocrisy, and brutality.  For better or worse, the Qatari soccer squad stands as the representative of this unsavory regime.  As for their soccer abilities, the Qataris have worked diligently for nearly fifteen years to prepare for this competition.  They actually participated in the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup in the U.S.  In doing so, they gave a good account of themselves, winning their group and advancing to the semi-finals.  The U.S. beat them in that match, 1-0, in what turned out to be a tense, hard fought affair.  Look for the Qataris to sit back in defense and to score on the counter-attack.

Since this is the World Cup from Qatar, there are already some rumors that the fix is already in for this game.  Various sources (including the Hindustan Times and Business Insider) report that Qatar allegedly bribed eight Ecuadorian players 7.4 million dollars to lose the opener.  So, if the Qatar snags a late goal to win, 1-nil, it has been foretold.

(I appeared as a guest on this week’s edition of “A Rabbi and A Lawyer Walk Into a Bar” Podcast.  Give a listen.)


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