Israeli embassy confirms cancellation of Argentina friendly in Jerusalem

Israeli embassy confirms cancellation of Argentina friendly in Jerusalem

Israeli embassy confirms cancellation of Argentina friendly in Jerusalem

Until now, the South Americans had been scheduled to contest a friendly with Israel in Jerusalem on Saturday as their final warm-up before the World Cup. "When Messi and the Argentinian national team come to Israel before the World Cup, it is clear that they will play in Jerusalem", she stated.

The Israeli Embassy in Argentina tweeted to confirm that the football friendly between the two countries was off.

Reports had surfaced in Argentina on Tuesday that the match would be called off, with Palestine's Football Association celebrating the news.

Palestinian Football Association chief Jibril Rajoub had been calling on people to burn the shirt of Argentina superstar Lionel Messi in protest against the game going ahead. Thousands more are believed to have been injured during the incident.

Striker Gonzalo Higuain confirmed in an interview with ESPN that the game had been cancelled, saying "they've finally done the right thing".

"With all the indignation it aroused, I prefer that we take care of the players, that they don't go to a conflict zone", he said.

Early in April, a boycott campaign sponsored by BDS Argentina was launched using the motto "Argentina don't go" to Israel, or #ArgentinaNoVayas.

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"The Israeli government has turned a regular sports match into a political tool".

The World Cup kicks off in Russian Federation on June 14, with Messi looking to inspire Argentina to victory.

Palestinians claim the eastern part of Jerusalem, annexed by Israel, as the capital of their future state. The match was originally slated to be played in Haifa but Israeli authorities contributed funding for it to be moved to Jerusalem, irking Palestinians further following US President Donald Trump's recognition of the city as Israel's capital.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu contacted Argentinean President Mauricio Macri in an effort to salvage the game but was told that the players were determined not to come. It has formed a government ministry whose primary mission is to combat the boycott movement.

"We give everything when we are wearing it and we want payback for the way things happened at the last World Cup", Rojo told Manchester United's official website.

Asked about Argentina's World Cup prospects, he added: "It will be important to prepare well, because in the qualifiers we were fighting up to the end and we didn't have time to prepare ourselves".

More than 115 Palestinians have been killed and almost 3,700 wounded during near-weekly protests along the Israeli border, according to Palestinian health officials.

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