Goodbye World Cup / Greece Beats Israel 2-1

The first half went by with not a single Israeli shot on goal, and just two in the second half in Israel's 2-1 defeat to Greece in a World Cup qualifier last night. This is not the way to win a match, or to win the World Cup. The match put me to sleep. It was a weak Greek team well past its prime, but we lost anyway.

This time again we will lose sleep over the World Cup broadcasts from South Africa, and the old-new sports minister Limor Livnat will have to stay home instead of flying to the safari. Goodbye Cup.

It always gets off on the right foot. The atmosphere at training sessions is great. The team is united, the coaches praise the players' dedication, and the players acknowledge the momentousness of the occasion. Tens of thousands of fans renew their faith in the national team, and the commentators are optimistic - "this time we can do it," they say. The prime minister, meanwhile, gets ready to make the congratulatory phone call before the president beats him to it.

It always starts off on the right foot and ends on the left. We won't be there for this World Cup either.

The pep talk from the Givati Brigade commander didn't do any good, nor did the Maccabees' victory over the Greeks. All the finger-crossing didn't help. God wasn't there last night in Crete. He must have been called at the last moment by another national team, which needed the mercy of heaven more. Perhaps he was called to the Health Ministry, which has been abandoned without a minister and the patients left on their own.

If only we didn't see sports as war. If only we didn't worship idols - last night Greek idols overcame a Jewish God. If only we didn't trust in miracles, we wouldn't have been so disappointed. This is Israeli soccer, this is the standard. The stars didn't lie, they only appeared as they were in their natural, historic size.

Ahead of the 2014 World Cup, let's start now reading the Psalms and praying for victory.