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Argentina cancels World Cup friendly against Israel following Gaza violence

PICTURE: Messi Names Best Three Goalkeepers He Has Faced - Latest football news in Nigeria

Argentina have cancelled their final World Cup warmup match against Israel, striker Gonzalo Higuain said on Tuesday.

The match in Jerusalem's Teddy Kollek Stadium was to be Argentina's final game before they kick off their World Cup campaign against Iceland on June 16 in Russian Federation.

"I call on the Argentinian team and especially captain Lionel Messi - because he is very popular in Palestine, particularly in the Gaza Strip - to stand in solidarity with Palestinians and to boycott the scheduled game with Israel, which is occupying our land", Khalil said.

Argentina has reportedly cancelled a World Cup warm-up match against Israel under political pressure over Israel's treatment of Palestinians in Gaza.

"The best goalkeeper? I played against many, but to choose one specifically I would say (Gianluigi) Buffon, and (Manuel) Neuer..."

Both national football teams have yet to make an official announcement of the cancellation, but the Argentine outlet Minuto Uno reported that the Argentina Football Association (AFA) will formally call off the match.

"This match has become a political tool", Rajoub said in Arabic.

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"If the game had stayed in Haifa, we as Palestinians would have opposed anyone who tried to hinder it", he said. Jorge Faurie did not confirm the game had been axed, but told reporters in Washington on the sidelines of the Organization of American States meeting that he believed players had been reluctant to travel to Israel to play.

In reference to the World Cup, his goals and Argentina's chances to win the global showpiece, Messi responded with his usual humility.

There was no initial reaction from the Israeli FA or from Israeli politicians.

If cancellation of the game is confirmed, it will mean Argentina head into the World Cup with hardly any pre-tournament match preparation.

Israel lays claim to the whole Jerusalem al-Quds, but the worldwide community views the city's eastern sector as an occupied territory and Palestinians consider it as the capital of their future state.

"For us it is unacceptable to hold this game in Jerusalem because it is occupied territory, and it is painful to see that the team, which has the love and support of so many Palestinians and Arab citizens, support the violation of worldwide law", he said. "We ask him not to participate in laundering the crimes of the occupation".

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