Argentina have decided to call-off their final World Cup warm-up match against Israel as political pressure grew ahead of Saturday’s scheduled fixture in Jerusalem, Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain said on Tuesday.
“They’ve finally done the right thing,” Higuain told in an interview and confirmed that the game had been cancelled.
Argentina were to play their last warm-up match against Israel before they kick started their World Cup campaign in Russia on June 16.
Reports suggest that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had requested Argentinian President Mauricio Macri not to cancel their visit, but Argentina decided against it.
Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman criticized the Argentina national football team for cancelling the match and called it a ‘surrender to hate’.
“It’s a shame that Argentina’s footballing nobility did not withstand the pressure from Israeli-hating inciters,” he wrote on Twitter.
The slated match had drawn intense reactions from Palestinians and various groups who insisted that the game would become a political tool for Israel to legalize its occupation of Jerusalem.
Palestinians were outraged at US President Donald Trump’s decision who recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last December and announced to move his country’s embassy there.
Palestinians claim that the eastern part of Jerusalem, annexed by Israel is its own ‘indivisible capital’.