There was some displeasure in the Arab world and predictions of an anti-Ghana backlash, which prompted this wonderful rejoinder from a cha commenting at the Belmont Club:
A few snarky Egyptians and some dork with a website a pogrom do not make. You'd have to have a screw loose to think that a Ghana player waving an Israeli flag would cause football fans to suddenly pour hate on the team.I also saw John Pantsil wave the Israeli flag and, of course, thought nothing of it. I certainly did not think it detracted one iota from one of the most incredible sporting events that I've ever seen.
The Edinburgh pub I was in erupted when Ghana's second goal went in, and I absolutely guarantee you that the entire continent of Europe was dancing for joy at Ghana's victory. Why? Because a victory for an African team was long overdue, and for it to come against the second rated team in the world makes it all the sweeter. We just love an underdog.
And I can tell you now, less than 0.1% of the viewers even noticed the Israeli flag, and even less gave a damn about it.
It's the same reason we thought it was great when Israel scored against the French in the qualifiers. Nobody gave a toss about the politics, but we all loved seeing a football minnow put one over a sporting superpower.
I cheered myself hoarse when the U.S. equalised against the Italians, but I'd rather slam my knackers in a car door than shake hands with your president. I guess it's because I'm capable of divorcing politics from sport. You should give it a try.
I know this probably conflicts with your worldview, but sometimes we just have to accept that the world does not conform to our perceptions of reality simply because we want it to.
Ghana's upset sets up an interesting dynamic:
The Africans meet the U.S. on Thursday in the last match of opening round play. While I would like to see the Americans advance, that will be tough since they'll be down two players because of red cards, and in any event would advance very far. The Ghanas, with their wide open play and infectious enthusiasm, can go far.
What's a Yank to do?