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Brazil v Argentina - FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifier
Ridiculous scenes in Sao Paulo as the clash between Brazil and Argentina was halted (Picture: Getty Images)

There were incredible scenes during the Brazil v Argentina World Cup qualifier in Sao Pauo on Sunday as health officials came onto the pitch five minutes into the match in order to detain four Argentina players.

The Brazilian authorities say that Argentina’s four Premier League-based players – Cristian Romero, Giovani Lo Celso, Emiliano Martinez and Emi Buendia – have breached quarantine rules and should have quarantined on arrival into Brazil due to Covid protocols.

They also claim that the Argentinians did not declare that the four men had been in the UK in the last 14 days, which would have meant they had to quarantine for 14 days, giving false information to avoid that. Argentina, though, believe that they have been in the CONMEBOL bubble, which means they did not have to comply to those rules.

The situation was known before the match, with Brazil’s health authority Anvisa releasing a statement, but why they chose until five minutes into the match to act is not at all clear.

Anvisa’s statement read: ‘Anvisa considers the situation a serious health risk and so has asked local health authorities to determine the immediate quarantine of the players, who are stopped from participating in any activity and should be prevented from remaining on Brazilian soil.’

Brazil v Argentina - FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifier
Brazilian players were confused as to what the outcome would be (Picture: Getty Images)

Martinez, Lo Celso and Romero were all in the starting XI for Argentina in Sao Paulo after CONMEBOL and FIFA had spoken to Brazilian health authorities and it was believed that all was well for them to play.

Travel within South America for elite sports people is permitted, but Brazilian authorities did not want those travelling from the UK to be involved.

After a feisty first five minutes, with some tackles flying between the old rivals, the game came to a halt as a number of officials congregated on the side of the pitch.

They then entered the field and the Argentine players were waved off the pitch after a small scuffle, while the Brazilians stayed on the field and chatted.

The majority of the Argentina squad returned to the dressing room pretty quickly, with the rest following.

FBL-WC-2022-SAMERICA-QUALIFIERS-BRA-ARG
Argentina’s players left the field after the chaotic scenes (Picture: Getty Images)

Argentina’s players never returned to the pitch and the match was officially called off, with the Brazilian players remaining on the field and had an unusual training session.

CONMEBOL tweeted: ‘By decision of the match referee, the match organized by FIFA between Brazil and Argentina for the World Cup Qualifiers is suspended.’

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni said: ‘It makes me very sad. I’m not looking for any culprits. Whether or not something happened, it was not the time to make that intervention.

‘It should have been a party for everyone, to enjoy the best players in the world. I would like the people of Argentina to understand that as a coach I have to defend my players.

‘At no time were we notified that they could not play the match. We wanted to play the game, the players from Brazil too.’

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Source: Metro Sport

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