Messi and Neymar’s meeting with their picks ended, with the Brazil-Argentina game ending on Sunday in Sao Paulo, with the intervention of Brazilian health authorities, accused of four Argentine players playing in England being accused of breaching anti-viral protocols. .
And FIFA confirmed in a statement that the 2022 World Cup qualification meeting was “suspended by a decision of the referee,” without specifying whether it will be postponed or not to a later date.
The kickoff was given only five minutes when the surreal scene took place: representatives of the Anvisa Health Agency and the Federal Police entered the square to finish the meeting, in even greater confusion.
The Argentines tried to maneuver, but eventually returned to the locker room, where they stayed for more than three hours, before finally leaving the stadium, an hour after the Brazilian delegation.
The president of the Argentine Federation, Claudio Tapia, confirmed that they will return directly to Buenos Aires by plane on Sunday evening.
“It’s been three days, why didn’t they (Anvisa agents) come before,” Messi, along with Neymar and the coaches of the two teams, asked in a video clip of the Argentine channel TYC.
“We were not informed at any time that (the four players) could not play the match. We wanted to play, the Brazilians too,” Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni said on the AFA’s Twitter account.
A few hours before kick-off, Anfisa announced in a statement that it had recommended to the local authorities in the state of São Paulo that the four footballers be “immediately placed in quarantine” for submitting “false information” on the entry form to Brazil.
According to the health agency, Giovanni Lo Celso (Tottenham Hotspur), Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa), Emiliano Buendia (Aston Villa) and Christian Romero (Tottenham) failed to report that they had been in the UK for the past 14 days. their arrival.
For his part, the AFC president denied any “lying” on the part of the players.
A ministerial order dated June 23 bans entry into Brazilian territory for any foreign person from the UK, India or South Africa, to prevent the spread of Covid-19 variants.
Brazil is the second country in the world stricken by Covid-19, with more than 580,000 deaths.
Anfisa’s press release reported “serious health risks”, banning players from “participating in any activity and remaining on Brazilian soil”.
No duel between Messi and Neymar
Despite this decision, Lo Celso, Martinez and Romero had joined the starting line-up 11 from Albiceleste and started the match.
“We got to this situation because not everything recommended by Anvisa was followed from the start. The director of the health agency, Antonio Barra Torres, said on Globo TV, “They (players) have been ordered to remain isolated pending their expulsion (from the country), but they are gone. To the stadium, they entered the stadium.
In contrast to the nine Brazilians in the Premier League who were called up by coach Tite, the four Argentines made the trip despite the use of the veto by English clubs, which prevented their players from South America from participating in these international matches to avoid quarantine upon their return.
“Everyone was surprised. It is an unfortunate episode, the Brazil-Argentina match is at the center of attention all over the world,” said the interim president of the Brazilian Federation, Edinaldo Rodriguez.
The wait was huge for this shock, the revenge of the Copa America final, which saw Argentine star Lionel Messi win his first title thanks to a 1-0 victory over the Seleção, on July 10, in the Maracana.
This meeting was to oppose Messi and Neymar, his Paris Saint-Germain teammates since this summer after playing together for four years at FC Barcelona (2013-2017).
The fencing was at the top of the South American qualifiers, with the Brazilians leading with 21 points and seven victories in seven matches, followed by Albiceleste (15 points).
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