Argentina ‘call off’ controversial World Cup warm-up against Israel

Argentina have cancelled their final World Cup warm-up match against Israel, striker Gonzalo Higuaín said on June 5, as political pressure grew before Saturday’s scheduled fixture in Jerusalem.
“They’ve finally done the right thing,” Higuaín said in an interview with ESPN, confirming reports the game had been cancelled.
The match at Jerusalem’s Teddy Kollek Stadium was to be Argentina’s last before they start their World Cup campaign in Russia against Iceland on 16 June.
There was no initial reaction from the Israeli FA or from Israeli politicians. Reports said that the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, had called the Argentinian president, Mauricio Macri, to ask him to persuade the team not to cancel their visit.
Israel Radio quoted an unnamed diplomatic official who said the chances of salvaging the fixture were very slim.
The visit of the two-times World Cup winners had attracted huge interest among Israeli fans, mainly because of Lionel Messi’s planned participation.
Palestinians celebrated the cancellation. People in Gaza cheered and in Ramallah in the West Bank, the Palestinian FA issued a statement thanking Messi and his colleagues for cancelling the game.
“The Palestinian FA thanks Argentina’s players led by star Messi for refusing to be used to serve a non-sporting goal,” it read.
Source: The Guardian

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