After some of the tortuous choices over the first four days of the World Cup, today’s lineup was a veritable rest day for the conscientious Zionist fan.
The day began with Margot Wallstrom (or “Sweden,” if you will) versus South Korea. Sweden, along with Ireland, are two the most annoying anti-Israel countries in Western Europe. While the Swedes retain the merit of having stayed neutral during World War II, they sold plenty of iron ore to the Third Reich. Sure, the Lehi assassinated Count Bernadotte in 1948–a crime for which no one was ever charged. So while there may be some basis for Swedish-Israeli emnity, it does not extend to rooting for their brightly yellow-clad footballers–especially brightly clad footballers without Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The second game featured Belgium against Los Canaleros of Panama. While not quite so obnoxious as the Swedes and Irish on Israel issues, the Belgians come close. As for Panama, what’s not to love about Panama? There are kosher restaurants and weekday mincha. (Most likely.)
The nightcap of England versus Tunisia provided the only moments of pause for this Zionist. With Tunisia’s 2-1 loss, it means that all four Arab countries in the draw (Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia) lost their opening game. The Sunni Arab world is currently locked in a geopolitical struggle with the Shia/Persian world. For all of the Arabs to lose and for Iran to win–this will only eat at the collective inferiority complex of the Sunni Arab street. That is not necessarily good for the Jews. Still, I was able to set aside negative feelings for Ernest Bevin, Elvis Costello, and Jeremy Corbyn, and celebrate Harry Kane’s decisive second goal.
Group H makes its debut tomorrow as Colombia takes on Japan, and Poland plays Senegal. Russia also plays Egypt, and I will have to let you know afterwards for whom I ended up cheering. If any. For the analysis of the teams in Group H, check the video below.