Sports

JERUSALEM (AP) The Latest on Argentina calling off soccer match with Israel (all times local):

5:50 p.m.

Claudio Tapia, president of the Argentine Football Association, is apologizing for cancelling a friendly match with Israel in Jerusalem, claiming the safety of the players was at stake.

Israels headline-seeking sports minister faced a barrage of criticism after Argentina called off the World Cup warmup because of pro-Palestinian protests.

”What has happened in the last 72 hours, the actions, the threats that have occurred have led us to take the decision not to travel,” said Tapia during a news conference in Barcelona, where the Argentine team is training prior to the start of the World Cup next week.

”(We) apologize. Its nothing against the Israeli community, the Jewish community and I would like everyone to take this decision as a contribution to world peace,” he added.

5:10 p.m.

The head of Israels soccer association says the Palestinians have ”crossed a red line” with the sudden cancellation of a game with Argentinas national team this week.

Ofer Eini blamed Jibril Rajoub, head of the Palestinian Football Federation, on Wednesday for ”doing all he can” to remove Israel from international football.

Sports

Craig Bolton of the Dream Team battles Victoria's Jonathan Brown and Brendan Fevola in 2008.

Photo: Vince Caligiuri

Full disclosure: I dont like the amount of American culture seeping into our game at an ever increasing rate every year. I dont find myself engaged by pre-game fan engagement. Im a music fan, but I dont really care who plays before the game on Grand Final day.

I find silence at the MCG before a game more riveting than kiss cam for instance. I never wore coloured footy boots when I played and I shook my head with disappointment as more and more of my teammates began to warm up for games wearing extra large headphones. They didnt care.

I grew up as a State-of-Origin kid. Always at this time of year, when the NRL showcases its three-game series, I feel that little twinge regret: “Wouldnt it be great if we still had…”

I remember racing home from school in the early '90s, throwing my school bag into my bedroom, grabbing my weathered wet-weather footy and tucking it under my arm to kick to myself out the front of our house.

Victoria was playing South Australia in Adelaide that night. The excitement was tangible. I could feel the tingle in my legs as I imagined the best players from all of the clubs running out alongside one another. With all of that football dreaming swirling around in my head, I would kick the ball high up in the air once again and imagine myself as one of the Big V stars.

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Victoria v SA: Craig Bradley and Brad Johnson do battle in 1999.

Photo: RAY KENNEDY

Sports

Craig Bolton of the Dream Team battles Victoria's Jonathan Brown and Brendan Fevola in 2008.

Photo: Vince Caligiuri

Full disclosure: I dont like the amount of American culture seeping into our game at an ever increasing rate every year. I dont find myself engaged by pre-game fan engagement. Im a music fan, but I dont really care who plays before the game on Grand Final day.

I find silence at the MCG before a game more riveting than kiss cam for instance. I never wore coloured footy boots when I played and I shook my head with disappointment as more and more of my teammates began to warm up for games wearing extra large headphones. They didnt care.

I grew up as a State-of-Origin kid. Always at this time of year, when the NRL showcases its three-game series, I feel that little twinge regret: “Wouldnt it be great if we still had…”

I remember racing home from school in the early '90s, throwing my school bag into my bedroom, grabbing my weathered wet-weather footy and tucking it under my arm to kick to myself out the front of our house.

Victoria was playing South Australia in Adelaide that night. The excitement was tangible. I could feel the tingle in my legs as I imagined the best players from all of the clubs running out alongside one another. With all of that football dreaming swirling around in my head, I would kick the ball high up in the air once again and imagine myself as one of the Big V stars.

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Victoria v SA: Craig Bradley and Brad Johnson do battle in 1999.

Photo: RAY KENNEDY

Sports

Hype springs eternal in the human heart.

In France, Germany and Spain fans are daring to dream that this could be their year to win another World Cup.

In Brazil, inevitably, hopes are high that the Selecao will come home from Europe with the best known trophy in world sport.

Even in Russia, where fans are not under any illusions about the ability of their team, there is optimism that when the tournament gets under way the hosts will rise to the occasion.

Raheem Sterling is the centre of attention in England's World Cup build-up.

Photo: AAP

But in the soccer nation most associated with massive over-confidence, an almost-delusional sense of belief in their team's superiority, the mood is strangely muted.

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Nobody, least of all, it would seem, those closest to the England team, are forecasting any particular heroics when the World Cup kicks off this month.

Even the UK tabloids are uncharacteristically subdued.

Sports

Hype springs eternal in the human heart.

In France, Germany and Spain fans are daring to dream that this could be their year to win another World Cup.

In Brazil, inevitably, hopes are high that the Selecao will come home from Europe with the best known trophy in world sport.

Even in Russia, where fans are not under any illusions about the ability of their team, there is optimism that when the tournament gets under way the hosts will rise to the occasion.

Raheem Sterling is the centre of attention in England's World Cup build-up.

Photo: AAP

But in the soccer nation most associated with massive over-confidence, an almost-delusional sense of belief in their team's superiority, the mood is strangely muted.

Advertisement

Nobody, least of all, it would seem, those closest to the England team, are forecasting any particular heroics when the World Cup kicks off this month.

Even the UK tabloids are uncharacteristically subdued.

Sports

38 minutes ago

Guillermo Ochoa (Getty Images)

Mexico City – Members of Mexico's national football squad held a farewell party with around 30 prostitutes before the team traveled to Europe ahead of the World Cup, reports said Tuesday.

According to the TVNotas gossip magazine, nine members of Mexico's World Cup squad partied with dozens of escorts at a private compound in Mexico City last Saturday following the team's 1-0 win over Scotland at the Aztec Stadium.

The magazine published grainy images of players arriving at the party under the headline "The true farewell of the Tri!".

However, Mexican officials said the players involved will not be sanctioned because they attended the party in their free time.

Guillermo Cantu, general secretary of the Mexican Football Federation, said the players would not be punished because "they have not missed training."

"A free day is a free day and those are the risks that one runs with freedom," Cantu was quoted as saying.

Among the players in attendance were goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa and Benfica striker Raul Jimenez.

Los Angeles Galaxy brothers Jonathan and Giovani dos Santos also attended, along with defender Carlos Salcedo and midfielder Marco Fabian, who both play for Eintracht Frankfurt in Germany.

Sports

38 minutes ago

Guillermo Ochoa (Getty Images)

Mexico City – Members of Mexico's national football squad held a farewell party with around 30 prostitutes before the team traveled to Europe ahead of the World Cup, reports said Tuesday.

According to the TVNotas gossip magazine, nine members of Mexico's World Cup squad partied with dozens of escorts at a private compound in Mexico City last Saturday following the team's 1-0 win over Scotland at the Aztec Stadium.

The magazine published grainy images of players arriving at the party under the headline "The true farewell of the Tri!".

However, Mexican officials said the players involved will not be sanctioned because they attended the party in their free time.

Guillermo Cantu, general secretary of the Mexican Football Federation, said the players would not be punished because "they have not missed training."

"A free day is a free day and those are the risks that one runs with freedom," Cantu was quoted as saying.

Among the players in attendance were goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa and Benfica striker Raul Jimenez.

Los Angeles Galaxy brothers Jonathan and Giovani dos Santos also attended, along with defender Carlos Salcedo and midfielder Marco Fabian, who both play for Eintracht Frankfurt in Germany.

Sports

30 minutes ago

Lionel Messi (Getty Images)

Buenos Aires – Argentina's upcoming friendly with Israel in Jerusalem has been cancelled, the Israeli embassy confirmed on Tuesday, citing unspecified threats against Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.

The World Cup warmup match had been scheduled to take place on Saturday.

But its status had been placed in doubt earlier, following protests by Palestinian football authorities who had urged Messi not to take part.

"The Embassy of Israel regrets to communicate the suspension of the match between Israel and Argentina," a statement said, referring to "threats and provocations" against Messi.

Local media had reported earlier Tuesday that the game was set to be scrapped, depriving Messi and his team-mates of a final warm-up game before they open their World Cup campaign in Russia.

Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie told reporters in Washington on the sidelines of the Organization of American States meeting that he believed Argentina's players had been reluctant to travel to Israel for the game.

"As far as I know, the players of the national team were not willing to play the game," Faurie said before confirmation of the game's cancellation.

Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli had last week aired misgivings about having to travel to Israel, noting he would have preferred to remain in Barcelona, where the team is holding its pre-World Cup training camp.

Sports

30 minutes ago

Lionel Messi (Getty Images)

Buenos Aires – Argentina's upcoming friendly with Israel in Jerusalem has been cancelled, the Israeli embassy confirmed on Tuesday, citing unspecified threats against Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.

The World Cup warmup match had been scheduled to take place on Saturday.

But its status had been placed in doubt earlier, following protests by Palestinian football authorities who had urged Messi not to take part.

"The Embassy of Israel regrets to communicate the suspension of the match between Israel and Argentina," a statement said, referring to "threats and provocations" against Messi.

Local media had reported earlier Tuesday that the game was set to be scrapped, depriving Messi and his team-mates of a final warm-up game before they open their World Cup campaign in Russia.

Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie told reporters in Washington on the sidelines of the Organization of American States meeting that he believed Argentina's players had been reluctant to travel to Israel for the game.

"As far as I know, the players of the national team were not willing to play the game," Faurie said before confirmation of the game's cancellation.

Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli had last week aired misgivings about having to travel to Israel, noting he would have preferred to remain in Barcelona, where the team is holding its pre-World Cup training camp.

Sports

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Madison Bumgarner tossed six solid innings in his long-awaited season debut but was outpitched by Patrick Corbin as the Arizona Diamondbacks held off San Francisco 3-2 on Tuesday night, ending the Giants five-game winning streak.

More than two months after breaking the pinkie on his pitching hand during his final start of spring training, Bumgarner (0-1) allowed two runs and eight hits in his first regular-season outing. San Franciscos ace left-hander struck out three and didnt walk a batter.

Corbin (6-2) struck out seven over 6 1/3 innings, permitting one run and four hits with two walks. The left-hander was staked to an early lead that barely held up for the first-place Diamondbacks.

Buster Posey hit an RBI single with two outs in the ninth and Andrew McCutchen followed with a single before Brad Boxberger retired Evan Longoria on a groundout to earn his 14th save.

Bumgarner had so hoped to start this season on a positive note after he missed nearly three months in 2017 following an April 20 dirt bike accident sustained during an off day in Colorado. But after breaking his left pinkie in March when it was hit by a line drive, he underwent surgery to have three pins inserted and then later had them removed.

Bumgarner received cheers when he headed out to left field to begin his warmup routine, then a nice ovation when his name was announced before the game.

He threw 17 pitches in the first, 12 strikes, and allowed Paul Goldschmidts single for the first of three hits by the slugger. Bumgarner was tagged for two runs in the second, when he gave up consecutive doubles to Ketel Marte and Chris Owings to start the inning, then Kristopher Negrons RBI single.

Pinch-hitter Jake Lamb gave Arizona an important insurance run with an RBI single in the ninth.

Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo expected Bumgarners best even if Day One of this season for the 2014 World Series MVP came in early June.

”I can be sure of one thing, hes going to come out guns a blazing doing what he does best,” Lovullo said.