Argentina calls off game against Israel after protests

Argentinian Presidency shows President Mauricio Macri (L) bidding farewell to Argentinian national football team forward Lionel Messi, at the Argentine Football Association (AFA) training facilities in Ezeiza, Buenos Aires on May 30, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 06 June 2018
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Argentina calls off game against Israel after protests

  • The Palestinians have also been outraged by President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital
  • Palestinian village destroyed during the war surrounding Israel’s creation in 1948

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina: Argentina has called off a World Cup warmup match against Israel following protests by pro-Palestinian groups.
A source at Argentina’s football federation on Tuesday confirmed the cancelation of the international friendly scheduled to be played Saturday at Teddy Kollek Stadium in Jerusalem. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they did not have permission to comment.
The head of the Palestinian football association, Jibril Rajoub, had urged Argentina to cancel the match and had called on Arab soccer fans to burn posters of Argentina captain Lionel Messi if he participated.
Although the stadium that was slated to host the match is in west Jerusalem, Rajoub had complained that it is situated in a neighborhood built on the site of a former Palestinian village destroyed during the war surrounding Israel’s creation in 1948. Rajoub has long urged FIFA to expel Israel from the international football federation, citing Israeli travel restrictions on Palestinian soccer players and because Israel maintains teams in West Bank settlements.
The cancelation came hours after pro-Palestinian activists staged a demonstration in front of the sports complex in Barcelona where Argentina is preparing ahead of the World Cup. Some waved the white and sky-blue striped jersey of Argentina’s national team stained with red paint resembling blood.
“In the end, they’ve done right thing, and this is behind us,” Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain told ESPN. “Health and common sense come first. We felt that it wasn’t right to go.”
Argentina opens its Group D campaign in Russia against Iceland on June 16. It then plays Croatia on June 21 and Nigeria on June 26. It is unclear whether Argentina will play another warmup, or if it will arrive to Moscow ahead of schedule.
There was no immediate reaction on the cancelation of the friendly game from Israel. But the Israeli news site Ynet reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had called Argentine president Mauricio Macri and urged him to intervene.
Officials at the Argentine president’s office declined to comment on the issue.
The cancelation was seen as a victory for the global Palestinian anti-Israel boycott campaign. The grassroots movement advocates boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel in what supporters say is a way to promote Palestinian rights through nonviolent means.
But Israel says the campaign goes beyond Israeli occupation of lands claimed by the Palestinians and masks a deeper aim of delegitimizing or even destroying the country. It has formed a government ministry whose primary mission is to combat the boycott movement.
The boycott movement welcomed the cancelation. It said the Argentinian team responded to “creative campaigning” denouncing what it called Israel’s “sports-washing of its crimes against Palestinians.”
Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war and later annexed the area in a move not recognized by the international community. The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.
The Palestinians have also been outraged by President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and his decision to move the US Embassy to the city.
The Argentine decision may also have been influenced by deadly violence along the Israeli-Gaza border. More than 115 Palestinians have been killed and nearly 3,700 more wounded during near-weekly protests along the Israeli border, according to Palestinian health officials. The vast majority of casualties have been unarmed.


Joe Root ton puts England on top against Sri Lanka

Updated 17 November 2018
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Joe Root ton puts England on top against Sri Lanka

KANDY: Captain Joe Root smashed 124 and newcomer Ben Foakes again hit valuable tail end runs to put England in command of the second Test against Sri Lanka on Friday.
England reached 324 for nine — a second innings lead of 278 — when bad light stopped play for the day in Kandy.
Foakes was batting on 51 alongside James Anderson on four.
Spinner Akila Danajanya, whose action is under investigation by the International Cricket Council, claimed six wickets on the turning pitch.
He trapped Root lbw and then bowled Sam Curran for nought with his next ball. Adil Rashid thwarted the hat-trick but soon fell to Dananjaya’s guile for two.
It was his third five wicket haul in just his fifth Test for Dananjaya, who must rush off to Australia after the game for an ICC examination of his bowling.
He however could not stop Root and Foakes swinging the game.
Root reached his 15th Test ton soon after tea, making the sweep and reverse sweep valuable weapons, as he hit 10 fours and two sixes in his 146-ball knock.
Root said he enjoyed making the runs despite the pressure.
“That’s what it should be. You shouldn’t feel pressure like the pressure is too much for you, you should enjoy the occasion and make the most of the opportunity in front of you,” he said after the day’s play.
“The whole group managed to harness that today and make the most of it.”
Root raised his bat to a standing ovation from traveling English fans who also lauded Foakes.
Root made an 82-run seventh wicket stand with Foakes, who reached his fifty with a six off Dilruwan Perera. The hit turned out to be the last ball of the day with dark clouds gathering and thunder heard in the distance.
As he did in his sparkling century on Test debut in the opening game of the series, Foakes mixed caution and aggression to push up the England score.
Every one of England’s top seven batsmen were out attempting a sweep of some description.
Jos Buttler dragged one of Dananjaya’s deliveries onto his stumps while trying to reverse sweep on 34. Moeen Ali was trapped lbw for 10 after failing to connect with an attempted sweep.
“From my point of view, it was almost a safer shot than playing the forward defensive,” said Root.
“With the amount the ball was turning there’s a lot of risk involved in that. At times attack is the best form of defense on a wicket like that.”
Earlier, left-hander Rory Burns registered his maiden Test half-century in just his second match. He was trapped lbw off Malinda Pushpakumara for 59.
Burns then put together 73 runs for the second wicket with Keaton Jennings, who made 26, to steady the innings and help England overcome their 46-run deficit.
“I think the temptation with a deficit like that going into the second innings is to play within your shell and be a bit insular but the guys went out and set the tone at top of the order,” said Root.
“It was really pleasing to see inexperienced guys as Test cricketers really set the benchmark for the rest of the group, a really good platform for us.
“Hopefully we still stretch the lead further and that should be a good chase on this surface.”