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Uproar in Israel after Argentina calls off friendly match

07 June 2018
Uproar in Israel after Argentina calls off friendly match

For days, Palestinian activists had lobbied and rallied to convince the Argentinian team to change its decision of playing a friendly game in Israel. The only reason it wouldn't be is if Argentina don't have enough players for the future.

Officials at the Argentine president's office declined to comment on the issue.

"We welcome news that [Argentina's] "friendly" football match with Israel has been canceled!".

The Palestine Football Association chief Jibril Rajoub reportedly urged fans to burn pictures of Lionel Messi and "replicas of his shirt" if the match was played.

The match is to be played at the Jerusalem Teddy Kollek Stadium in the neighborhood of Malha, a site that once hosted a Palestinian village that was destroyed during the 1948 war following the establishment of the state of Israel.

The Israel and Argentina federations had yet to formally announce the game's cancellation as of Tuesday night. Thousands more are believed to have been injured during the incident. He added: "Health and common sense come first". "I think it's three or four times now we've been drawn with Nigeria and it will be a hard group", said Rojo.

Messi, who has already guided Barcelona to La Liga and Copa del Rey title this season, will eye for worldwide honour when Argentina kick start their campaign against Iceland on June 16.

Argentina face Iceland, Nigeria and Croatia in what is considered to be one of the hardest groups in the tournament.

Argentina Football Association president Claudio Tapia said: "Yesterday the decision was taken to not travel and play the friendly game against Israel".

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Argentinian President Mauricio Macri on Tuesday night to ask him to persuade the team not to cancel their visit, but a diplomatic official said the chances of salvaging the fixture were very slim as Macri can't force the players to come to Israel.

Ahead of the game Rajoub had urged Messi not to take part and called on fans to burn shirts bearing his name if he did. It has formed a government ministry whose primary mission is to combat the boycott movement.

Argentina will now remain in Barcelona, where they have been training for the World Cup, until Saturday when they will travel to Russian Federation.

Palestinians are outraged at Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, breaking with decades of policy, and choosing to move his country's embassy there.

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.