Israel’s embassy in Buenos Aires will be rooting for Argentina at the World Cup, even after the team’s controversial cancellation of a friendly match against Israel earlier this month.
“We were waiting for Leo,” a video clip posted to YouTube by the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires mourned, referring to the legendary forward Lionel Messi, nicknamed Leo.
Sad music plays in the background, as the Israeli ambassador to Argentina, Ilan Sztulman, dressed in a soccer shirt, looks longingly at a photo album featuring the the superstar sticking his tongue out.
The caption then reads, “We’re a little used to waiting for the Messi-ah.”
But in an attempt to show that Israel has forgiven the abrupt cancellation, the video goes on to root for Argentina in the World Cup.
A young man, presumed to be an embassy official, smears the Argentine team’s colors blue and white on his cheeks, and against the background of Jerusalem’s Old City, the next caption reads, “In this World Cup, from the Israeli Embassy in Argentina, have no doubt that we’ll be encouraging the blue and whites!”
Sztulman and two colleagues, all dressed in appropriate soccer gear, then rush to their seats, ready for the start of the championship set to kick off in Russia on Thursday.
The clip ends, “Leo, bring us the cup! Go Argentina!”
Argentina is scheduled to play Iceland on Saturday.
Meanwhile Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon threw his support behind neighbors Egypt and Saudi Arabia
#2018fifaworldcuprossia starts today!Great moment for football fans worldwide. Israel’s national team won’t be there ???? We may be the startup nation, but kicking a ball ⚽️ is something else…. I wish success to our neighbors ( ???????? ???????? ) and hope for a brighter future ????????
— Emmanuel Nahshon (@EmmanuelNahshon) June 14, 2018
The Argentinian team pulled out of the highly anticipated soccer match against Israel under Palestinian pressure and threats to the players after Culture Minister Miri Regev moved the match from Haifa in the north to Jerusalem.
Israel claims Jerusalem as its eternal capital, but most of the international community does not recognize it as such, insisting that the city’s status will only be determined within the framework of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.