6/6/2018 2:36:53 PM (GMT+3)

Argentina show red card to Israel, scrap friendly

Argentina show red card to Israel, scrap friendly

NEW DELHI: Call it football politics or a safety measure to protect the world’s most popular player, Argentina cancelled their pre-World Cup friendly against Israel in Jerusalem on Wednesday.

"It’s a shame that Argentina's footballing nobility did not withstand the pressure from Israeli-hating inciters," Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman wrote on Twitter Wednesday.

The Israeli embassy in Argentina on Tuesday announced the "suspension" of Saturday's match with its national team, citing what it called "threats and provocations" against Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.

While Israel lashed out at Argentina's national football team over the cancellation, the Palestinians celebrated the decision.

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

The Palestinian Football Association had earlier urged Messi not to take part in the game and later welcomed the scrapping of the game.

“This was a red card to the Israelis,” Palestinian football head Jibril Rajoub said at a press conference.