Brazil-Argentina World Cup Qualifier comes to an abrupt end

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Sao Paolo: The South American World Cup Qualifier between Brazil and Argentina came to a sudden stop after local health officials invaded the pitch over an alleged breach of  COVID-19 regulations by the Argentine players.

The much-waited Super Clasico, since Copa America 2021 final was halted abruptly after Brazilian medical officials descended on to the pitch claiming four England-based Argentina players to be put into ‘immediate quarantine’. They were Aston Villa’s Emiliano Martinez and Emiliano Buendia along with Giovanni Lo Celso and Cristian Romero of Tottenham Hotspur.

The players were accused of falsifying their tests and breaching the COVID-19 protocols. Eventually the match was suspended. This was next in line with the absence of eight important first-team Brazil players, who were refused to let go by their respective Premier League clubs. The officials were strong in their claim , and were not repentant of intervening the tie.

“We got to this point because everything that ANVISA (Brazilian Health Surveillance Agency) directed, from the first moment, was not fulfilled,” ANVISA director Antonio Barra Torres said.

“The four players were directed to remain isolated while awaiting deportation, but they did not comply. They went to the stadium and they entered the field, in a series of breaches,” the official added.

A government order dating from June 23 prohibits the entry into Brazilian territory of any foreign person from the United Kingdom, India or South Africa, to prevent the spread of variants of the coronavirus.

“ANVISA considers that this situation represents a serious health risk and recommends that the local health authorities (of Sao Paulo) order the immediate quarantine of the players, who are prohibited from taking part in any activity and from remaining on Brazilian territory,” the agency said in a statement earlier Sunday.

CONMEBOL had eventually called the encounter off and did not specify when the tie will be rescheduled. “By decision of the match referee, the match organized by FIFA between Brazil and Argentina for the qualifiers for the World Cup is suspended,” CONMEBOL said in a statement.

“The referee and the match commissioner will submit a report to the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, which will determine the steps to follow. These procedures adhere strictly to current regulations,” added in the statement.

Argentina captain Lionel Messi was apparently very disappointed over the whole incident and thought it was avoidable during the 90 minutes. “We’ve been here for three days, why are you doing this just now?” he said on Argentina’s TyC Network.

Head coach Lionel Scaloni, also claimed, “At no time were we told that they could not play the game.”

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