Israel coach Eli Gutman held his head in disbelief, as surely did pretty much every single Israeli tuned in to last night’s World Cup final.
After all, Israel wasn’t even supposed to take part in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. And even after it was gifted a berth in the tournament, following the outbreak of hostilities between Belgium and Switzerland regarding who makes the better chocolate, no one expected the blue-and-white to progress past the group stage.
No matter how many times you write it, somehow it still doesn’t sound real. But with last night’s victory over Germany in a penalty shootout, the impossible dream was realized.
Recall how it happened; Israel was placed in Group H in place of Belgium, which was thrown out of the tournament after its illegal occupation of Switzerland and its inhumane melting of all Swiss chocolate.
Gutman’s men were then set to open their campaign against Algeria on June 17, but the North Africans boycotted the match in support of their Palestinian brothers, awarding Israel a 3-0 forfeit victory.
The blue-and-white was then outplayed in two 1-0 defeats to Russia and South Korea, but its superior goal difference courtesy of the Algerian boycott saw Israel advance to the knockout rounds from second place.
No one will ever forget Cristiano Ronaldo’s remarkable own-goal that secured Israel a 1-0 victory over Portugal in the last 16. Leo Messi’s absence in the quarterfinals against Argentina after the Barcelona forward refused to face what he called his new “homeland,” following the discovery of his Jewish roots, clearly helped Israel’s cause.
Everyone expected Israel’s dream run to end at the hands of hosts Brazil in the semis, but no one could foresee what ultimately unfolded.
The Brazilian players choose to stand still for the first five minutes of the match, in support of the protests of millions of their countrymen and women against the invasion of Copacabana Beach by thousands of dreadfully tanned English tourists.
It is estimated that 99.4 percent of all TV, computer and tablet screens in Israel were tuned in to last night’s final against Germany – and what a remarkable drama they all witnessed.
The Germans ended the night with over 80 minutes of possession-time and 49 attempts at goal to Israel’s one.
And to think Israeli football was once a target of ridicule.
This story is fictitious and in the spirit of Purim.
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