Argentina-Israel Soccer Match Cancelled

The eternal argument of who is better Ronaldo or Messi has been given extra spice ahead of this summer's World Cup

Whatever side you believe in, Argentina's Football team's decision to not play against Israel is certainly a big statement.

The press in Argentina and Israel reported that the Argentine Football Association was supposed to receive a payment of between two and three million dollars if Messi played.

The match against Israel had drawn criticism with the head of the Palestinian Football Association urging fans last weekend to burn pictures of Argentina striker Lionel Messi and replicas of his shirt if he played in the game. "Rationale and health come before everything else". "I think it's three or four times now we've been drawn with Nigeria and it will be a hard group".

Israel said its snipers had only opened fire in self-defence or on people trying to infiltrate its territory under cover of the protests orchestrated by the Hamas militant group, which runs Gaza.

The Palestinians opposed the decision to hold the match in Jerusalem, accusing Israel of seeking to use the event, and especially the presence of global star Messi, to underpin Israel's claim to the Holy City.

Argentina's next match is now slated to be their World Cup Group D opener against Iceland on June 16, with Messi and his team-mates having only played one warm-up match - a 4-0 win over Haiti on May 30.

On May 14, which marks the Nakba (Catastrophe) for Palestinians, the United States, officially moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, following a December 2017 recognition by President Donald Trump of the city as Israel's capital.

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"We still hope that Messi will not come", said Rajoub.

Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war and later annexed the area in a move not recognised by the global community.

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

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had called Argentine President Mauricio Macri and urged him to intervene, to no avail.

"The game was canceled for one reason only - threats to the life of the star Messi", Israeli Sports Minister Miri Regev said at a news conference Wednesday, showing photos of threatening posters she said were sent to Argentine players and coaches.

BDS stands for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel.

The Israeli Embassy in Argentina confirmed the cancellation on Twitter, saying it was saddened by the news following the threats directed at the players. The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as the capital of a future state. A petition cited "Israel's long record of human rights abuses, on and off the field", and also referenced the recent Israeli sniper shooting of Palestinian soccer player Mohammed Khalil while he was peacefully protesting during the March of Great Return.

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