Sports

Argentina Cancels World Cup Warm Up Game With Israel After Palestinian Protests

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| June 6 , 2018 , 14:14 IST

Argentina have cancelled their final World Cup warm-up match with Israel. This was confirmed by team striker Gonzalo Higuaín in an interview to ESPN Sports late on Tuesday.

The match had seen a lot of political pressure with Palestinian football fan appealing Argentina and Lionel Messi to call off the match accusing Israel of using the match as a political tool. The match was supposed to be played in Jerusalem.

"They've finally done the right thing," Higuain said in the interview.

Israeli defence Minister Avigdor Liberman tweeted, “It's too bad the soccer knights of Argentina did not withstand the pressure of the Israeli-hating inciters, whose only goal is to impinge our basic right to self-defence and bring about the destruction of Israel. We will not yield before a pack of anti-Semitic terrorist supporters.”

As per media reports, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called up Argentinian President Mauricio Macri to salvage the game which was supposed to be played on Saturday.

The news was met with jubilation and cheer in Gaza where more than 120 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces during the recent protest against the shifting of American Embassy to Jerusalem.

Palestinian Football Association which ran a campaign asking Lionel Messi to not play the friendly game issued a statement thanking Messi and his team for the decision.

PFA Chairman J Rajoub who led the campaign said, “Values, morals and sport have secured a victory today and a red card was raised in Israel through the cancellation of the game."

Before the cancellation, Rajoub had called upon Palestinian people to burn effigies and pictures of Lionel Messi to protest against the game.

Media reports suggest that Argentina cancelled the game following pressure from Lionel Messi and other players who expressed that they did not want to go and play in Jerusalem. Some reports suggest that Messi will bear the financial losses because of the cancellation of the game.