Sports News Without Access, Favor, Or Discretion

David Hirshey writes regularly for Deadspin about soccer.

It's a good thing that Mel Gibson didn't wander into Kinsale Tavern this past weekend looking for a pint of Fosters, because Ol' Braveheart would have left with a Star of David tattooed on his forehead and a half pound of creamed herring shoved up his ass. Yes, this was the wrong weekend to piss off the Soccer Jews.

Never mind controlling the media and Hollywood; that's child's play. For a few glorious days, we had our swarthy hands clutched around the throat of the disbelieving soccer world.


It started early Saturday morning when in the 85th minute of the United States' 1-0 win over South Africa, Jonathan Bornstein replaced Benny Feilhaber. Jew for Jew, straight up. When was the last time that happened in any American sport, let alone soccer? Only Simmons can tell us whether Gabe Kapler ever went in for Kevin Youkilis, and he's obviously still nursing his wounds after New England lost to Houston in the MLS final that I joined all of you in not watching.

Then in an upset that no doubt made Vladimir Putin want to poison the taps at Kinsale (but won me a few shekels at 6-1 odds), Israel upset heavily favored Russia 2-1 to save England from elimination in the European Championships — at least until Wednesday, when the Three Lions find a way to lose to Croatia .

The final matzo ball in this soup was dropped yesterday afternoon when Israeli midfielder Dori Arad - who comes from legendary soccer genes (Mine! He's a cousin on my mother's side, but I'm not biased) — took UConn to the Promised Land (No. 1 in the country) after his two goals gave the Huskies a 2-1 victory over Notre Dame and the Big East championship.


"Let's face it, we are the Chosen Ones, " exulted Relegation Zone Mikey, forgetting for the moment that he is a Tottenham fan. "Deal with it."

Not everyone can, of course. The English, for instance, still think they're owed for a little thing called 1948, and all last week the land that gave us Shylock was convinced that Israel would sell them out. Frankly, I wish we had, because England doesn't deserve their good luck. They are a crap team with a clown for a manager who, with Israel winning, was spared one final jolt of the electric cattle prod that the British tabloids were holding to his ball sack.

With England's Euro fate hinging on the result, Kinsale was packed with Brits who otherwise would sooner line up to be circumcised than watch a game between Russians and Israelis. When, just before kickoff, the camera panned to a shot of Chelsea's gazillionaire Russian owner Roman Abramovich smiling in the stands, the Brits in the bar all started shouting that the fix was in.


The theory goes something like this. Ambramovich is already subsidizing the salary of Russia's coach Gus Hiddink and was prepared to offer the Israel players money, a couple of oil wells and All You Can Eat At The Natalie Portman Buffet to lay down their boots and let the Russians waltz into Euro. The theory was further bolstered by the following factors :

a) Israel had nothing to play for, having been eliminated in their last game;
b) they were missing their best player Yossi Benayoun, who was injured;
c) they were grateful to Hiddink's brother who helped save Jewish families from the Holocaust.


No one seemed to remember two things:

a) Ambramovich is a Jew and something of an Israel groupie, even plucking his current butt-boychick coach Avram Grant from its ranks;
b ) The Israelis relish proving the world wrong.

Of course, none of this mattered when, in the 92nd minute with the game tied at 1-1, Barda, who had scored Israel's first goal, released substitute Omar Golan with a seeing-eye ball that bisected the Russian offside trap. As Golan cooly beat both the keeper and the conspiracy theorists — Goooooooolaaaaaaan! — Kinsale burst into song. This wasn't the usual boozy chorus of "God Save The Queen," but one that I had never before heard in an Irish pub. Yes, they were singing "Hava Nagila."

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