Argentina to play friendlies in US now China tour has been scrapped

February 23 – Argentina is to replace its cancelled tour of China with two matches in the United States next month.

Chinese sporting authorities recently called off two friendlies featuring the world champions amid a backlash over Lionel Messi’s failure to play for Inter Miami in Hong Kong.  Messi’s no-show caused a major spat when he stayed on the bench citing injury during his team’s 4-1 win against a Hong Kong select XI.

A near 40,000 sellout crowd, having paid upwards of 1,000 Hong Kong dollars ($125) to see the 36-year-old superstar in action, chanted ‘Refund’ and booed Messi and the team’s co-owner David Beckham after the final whistle.

That game was supposed to be followed by fixtures against Nigeria in Hangzhou and African champions Ivory Coast in Beijing but both were cancelled by Chinese authorities.

As a result, Argentina, who will kick off the Copa America in Atlanta on June 20, will now play a pair of friendlies against El Salvador in Philadelphia on March 22 and Nigeria in Los Angeles four days later.

The Argentina women’s team are currently in LA and play the USA in the second round of W Gold Cup group matches tonight at the Dignity Health Park stadium.

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