Israel has never won soccer’s World Cup and has not qualified for the tournament since 1970.
That didn’t stop the Jewish state from triumphing in its Mundialito de Futbol Infantil — or “Mini World Cup” — debut in Buenos Aires last week, where it beat Brazil in the final.
A soccer tournament for Jewish kids age 9-12, the Mundialito takes place every other year, hosted by the Argentinean Federation of Jewish Community Centers. This year’s tournament, the sixth of its kind, brought together 800 players from teams representing 18 Jewish community centers in seven countries, six of them South American. This year was the first time Israel sent teams.
Paraguay sent the tournament’s only two female players.
According to Fabio Fridman, executive director of the Argentinean Federation of Jewish Community Centers, the tournament is the only global Jewish sports event for children under 13.