World Cup briefing: Argentina cancel Israel match amid Gaza violence
England’s Danny Rose tells his family not to travel to Russia over racism fears
Argentina call off Israel friendly
Saturday’s controversial friendly match between Israel and Argentina has been cancelled.
The match was to be played in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Malha, but the BBC reports that Argentina were under pressure to cancel the game because of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in Gaza.
Argentina were going to use the fixture as a warm-up for this month’s World Cup. ESPN reports that the squad’s training camp in Barcelona was marred by “threats to the team” over the Israel game.
This week the Spanish newspaper Marca reported that Palestinian Football Federation president Jibril Rajoub had called on Arab and Muslim fans to “burn shirts and images” of Argentina and Barcelona star Lionel Messi if he attended the game in Israel.
Rajoub said: “Don’t come Messi, don’t be the mask for the face of racism.”
In response to the decision to cancel the game, Argentine Football Association vice president Hugo Moyano told Radio 10: “I think it’s a good thing that the match between Argentina and Israel was suspended.
“The right thing was done, it’s not worth it. The stuff that happens in those places, where they kill so many people, as a human being you can’t accept that in any way. The players’ families were suffering due to the threats.”
Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain told ESPN: “They’ve finally done the right thing.”
Rose tells family to stay at home
Tottenham and England defender Danny Rose has told his “heartbroken” family not to travel to the World Cup finals over fears of racism in Russia.
In an interview with the London Evening Standard, Rose says he feels “numb to racism” and has hit out at Fifa for not doing enough to combat the issue. In March Fifa fined Russia £22,000 after fans chanted racist abuse at France players – a punishment described as “laughable” by Rose.
He told the Standard: “I’m not worried for myself. But I’ve told my family I don’t want them going out there because of racism and anything else that may happen. I don’t want to be worrying [for my family’s safety] when I’m trying to prepare for games.
“If anything happens to me, it wouldn’t affect me like it would if my family had been abused. I’m fine with whatever may or may not happen, and I like to think I’ll be able to deal with it in the right way.”
Meet Costa Rica’s Celso Borges…
Sky Sports believes it has found the World Cup’s most interesting player – Costa Rica midfielder Celso Borges.
The Deportivo La Coruna player, who is 30, is the son of a national icon – Costa Rica 1990 World Cup star Alexandre Guimaraes. He is also the drummer in a heavy metal band, Sky reports.
Borges has been described as “the brain of Costa Rica” because of his ability to speak four languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese and Swedish.
He does have one flaw: his cooking skills. Borges’s best friend Renato Coto said: “He’s very clumsy with his hands, sometimes when he helps to cook he cuts himself.”