Argentina's Lionel Messi.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Israel Football Association is hoping to finalize on Wednesday the deal that will see Argentina come to Israel and face the national team in its final warm-up match prior to the start of this summer’s World Cup in Russia.
The match is set to be held on June 9, in either Haifa or Jerusalem, one week before Argentina opens its World Cup campaign against Iceland.
Lionel Messi’s Argentina, beaten by Germany in the last World Cup final and still awaiting its first title since 1986, will face Croatia and Nigeria as well as Iceland.
Argentina visited Israel prior to the 1986 World cup, claiming a 7-2 win in a friendly against the blue-and-white.
The Argentinians subsequently also came to the Holy Land ahead of the World Cups in 1990, 1994 and 1998, which was the team’s last visit to Israel.
The cost of hosting Argentina is estimated at $3 million “This would be an amazing experience for local fans and anyone who takes part in the game,” said veteran Yossi Benayoun, Israel’s record cap holder who is hoping to bid farewell to the national team against Argentina. “I hope I will also have an opportunity to play against the greatest player of all time.”