Argentina coach hits out at Israel warm-up fixture

2018-05-30 14:47
Jorge Sampaoli (Getty Images)

Buenos Aires - Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli has complained that his side have to play their final 2018 Soccer World Cup warm-up match in Israel.

A hat-trick from Lionel Messi gave Argentina an easy 4-0 win over Haiti on Tuesday in Buenos Aires and the squad will fly to Barcelona on Thursday to continue their preparations.

The match in Jerusalem against Israel will be their last before travelling to Russia.

"I'm not the one who decides when we play and who we play," Sampaoli said after the victory against Haiti at La Bombonera.

Sampaoli stressed he did not want to get drawn into any comment on the tension between Israelis and Palestinians.

But he said: "From a sporting point of view, I would have preferred to play in Barcelona. But that's the way it is, we have to travel on the day before the match, play Israel in Israel and then from there go on to Russia.

"That is the schedule that the AFA (the Argentinian football federation) have given us."

All 20 000 tickets for the friendly in Jerusalem sold out in 20 minutes, the company handling the sales said.

Argentina, who were the beaten finalists in 2014, play their first World Cup match against Iceland on June 16. They will also face Nigeria and Croatia in Group D.

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