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Argentina cancels Israel World Cup friendly in Jerusalem, Palestinians joyful

06 June, 2018, 19:16 | Author: Carla Brady
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The Israeli embassy said "it regrets to communicate the suspension of the match between Israel and Argentina", and referred to unspecified "threats" and "provocations" against Messi.

Even Palestinian Ambassador to Argentina, Husni Abdel Wahed, pressured the team to boycott the match.

FC Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has often been described as the greatest footballer of all time but the Argentina captain has since refuted the claims ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Mr Rajoub called a news conference for Wednesday in Ramallah, which he will hold outside the Argentinian representative's office.

The game was initially due to be played in Haifa, but had been moved to a stadium in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Malha, the site of a former Palestinian village destroyed during the war that established Israel 70 years ago.

The country's about-turn comes as Israel faces fierce criticism over its use of lethal force against Palestinian protesters on the Gaza border. Thousands more are believed to have been injured during the incident. "We still hope that Messi will not come", he told reporters. "We felt that it wasn't right to go".

Lionel Messi does not need to win a World Cup to be classed as one of football's greatest players, according to Gaizka Mendieta.

The sold-out game was opposed by Palestinians, who claim the eastern part of the city, annexed by Israel, as the capital of their future state.

Argentina are now looking for a last minute rival for another friendly, which would take place in Barcelona.

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog called the snub a "spectacular own goal" by Miri Regev that delivered victory to boycotters of the Jewish State.

"They've finally done the right thing", he said, adding the issue was over now.

However, in a recent interview with Paper Magazine, in which Messi posed with a goat for an iconic image, the 30-year-old maintained he is "just another player".

Argentina take on Iceland in their first group stage match at Spartak Stadium on 16 June.

The match at the Teddy Kollek Stadium was to be Argentina's final game before they kick off their World Cup campaign in Russian Federation against Iceland on June 16.

The Palestinians accused Israel of using the fixture and the participation of Barcelona ace Lionel Messi to underpin its disputed claim to Jerusalem, which U.S. President Donald Trump recognised in 2017 as Israel's capital in a break from global consensus.


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