Argentina have cancelled their final World Cup warm up match against Israel, striker Gonzalo Higuain said on Tuesday, as political pressure grew ahead of Saturday’s scheduled fixture in Jerusalem.
“They’ve finally done the right thing,” Higuain said in an interview with ESPN, confirming reports the game had been cancelled.
The match at Jerusalem’s Teddy Kollek Stadium was to be Argentina’s last before they kick off their World Cup campaign in Russia on June 16.
There was no initial reaction from the Israeli FA or from Israeli politicians. Reports said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had called Argentinian President Mauricio Macri to ask him to persuade the team not to cancel their visit.
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Israel Radio quoted an unnamed diplomatic official who said the chances of salvaging the fixture were very slim.
The visit of twice world champions Argentina has attracted huge interest among Israeli fans, mainly because of Barcelona great Lionel Messi’s planned participation.
Palestinians celebrated the cancellation. In Gaza, people cheered and in Ramallah in the West Bank, the Palestinian FA issued a statement thanking Messi and his colleagues for canceling the game.
“The Palestinian FA thanks Argentina’s players led by star Messi for refusing to be used to serve a non-sporting goal.”
Palestinian FA chairman Jibril Rajoub said: “Values, morals and sport have secured a victory today and a red card was raised at Israel through the cancellation of the game.”
The cancellation is just one more obstacle for Argentina, who were beaten finalists at the World Cup in Brazil four years ago and whose preparations have been troubled this time around.
They suffered a heavy defeat to Spain in a friendly and lost their first-choice goalkeeper to injury, giving little encouragement to fans who watched the team struggle to qualify for the tournament in Russia.
The twice World Cup winners face Iceland, Nigeria and Croatia in what is considered to be one of the hardest groups in the tournament.
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England dropped Sterling after Gomez altercation
England and Machester city player Raheem Sterling has been dropped ahead of Euro 2020 qualifer match against Montenegro.
England Football Association took to social media to confirm that Sterling had been dropped “as a result of a disturbance in a private team area”.
Sterling and Gomez had an on-field altercation during the Reds’ 3-1 Premier League victory at Anfield on Sunday.
But sterling has qunch the fire via his Instagram account, by stating “Both Joe and I have had words and figured things out and moved on,”
“We are in a sport where emotions run high and I am man enough to admit when emotions got the better of me.
“This is why we play this sport because of our love for it – me and Joe Gomez are good, we both understand it was a five to 10 second thing… it’s done, we move forward and not make this bigger than it
“Let’s get focus on our game on Thursday,” Sterling added.
England boss Gareth Southgate said on Monday: “Unfortunately the emotions of yesterday’s game were still raw.
“One of the great challenges and strengths for us is that we’ve been able to separate club rivalries from the national team.
“We have taken the decision to not consider Raheem for the match against Montenegro on Thursday. My feeling is that the right thing for the team is the action we have taken.
“Now that the decision has been made with the agreement of the entire squad, it’s important that we support the players and focus on Thursday night.”
Groups criticise Kenya’s census figures
Groups has criticised the released Kenya’s population census figures stating that the results are not accurate.
It found that the total population of the country is now 47.6 million, nine million more than in 2009.
But some regions have experienced a decrease in population.
These outcomes can be hugely controversial because the size of the local population has important implications for the level of government funding they receive.
Kenya’s population is made up of many different ethnic groups, closely aligned to competing political parties.
The government has yet to release all the data on the ethnic composition of the country, but the changes in population in certain regions from this latest census have already caused arguments.
The outcome of such surveys can embolden or weaken claims made by groups for political representation or resources.
In one area of the north-east territories bordering Ethiopia and Somalia, the census indicates a decrease in the population, prompting local political leaders looking to retain funding for their provinces to question the veracity of the survey
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