Brazil-Argentina World Cup qualifiers suspended due to COVID-19 controversy

The World Cup qualifying match between Brazil and Argentina was abruptly suspended shortly after starting on Sunday (5/9), due to controversy over the COVID-19 protocol.

The match at Sao Paulo’s Neo Quimica Arena between the two South American teams was stopped when a group of Brazilian public health officials entered the field, sparking an altercation involving team staff and players.

The Argentine players in annoyance left the pitch for the locker room. Argentina captain Lionel Messi then appeared again without wearing his team jersey.

The surprising intervention came just hours after Brazil’s health authorities said four England-based Argentine players should be “quarantined immediately” for violating COVID-19 protocols.

According to Brazil’s National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA), Premier League players Giovani Lo Celso (Tottenham), Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa), Emiliano Buendia (Aston Villa) and Cristian Romero (Tottenham) provided “false information” when entering Brazil.

The four players were accused of not disclosing that they were in England in the 14 days prior to their arrival in Brazil. [vm/jm]

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