The reunion between Messi and Neymar with their selections came to an end, with the end of the Brazil-Argentina match, Sunday, September 5, in Sao Paulo, on the intervention of the Brazilian health authorities, four Argentine players playing in England being accused of violating protocols anti-Covid.
The International Football Federation (FIFA) confirmed in a statement that this qualifying match for the 2022 World Cup had been “Suspended by decision of the arbitrator”, without specifying whether or not it will be postponed to a later date.
The kickoff had been given barely five minutes when the surreal scene occurred: representatives of the Anvisa health agency and the federal police entered the field to end the meeting, in the confusion the most total. The Argentines tried to parley, 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 (AFA), Claudio Tapia, assured that they would return directly to Buenos Aires by plane this Sunday evening. “We’ve been here for three days, why aren’t they [les agents de l’Anvisa] not come before “, asked Messi, alongside Neymar and the coaches of the two teams, in a video of the Argentinian channel TyC in full confusion. “At no time were we informed that [les quatre joueurs] could not play the game. We wanted to play, and the Brazilians too ”, declared for his part the Argentinian coach Lionel Scaloni, quoted on the Twitter account of the Argentinian federation.
” Fake news “
A few hours before the kick-off, Anvisa had yet announced in a statement that it had recommended to the local authorities of the State of Sao Paulo that the four footballers be “Immediately placed in quarantine” for providing ” fake news “ in the entry form to Brazil. According to the health agency, Giovanni Lo Celso (Tottenham), Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa), Emiliano Buendia (Aston Villa) and Cristian Romero (Tottenham) have failed to report that they had stayed in the United Kingdom for the last fourteen days preceding their arrival.
The president of the AFA for his part denied any ” lie “ from the players.
A ministerial order dated June 23 prohibits entry into Brazilian territory to any foreign person from the United Kingdom, India or South Africa, to prevent the spread of variants of Covid-19. Brazil is the second country in the world most bereaved by Covid-19, with more than 580,000 dead. The Anvisa press release reported a “Serious health risk”, prohibiting players from “Take part in any activity and stay on Brazilian territory”.
No duel between Messi and Neymar
Despite this decision, Lo Celso, Martinez and Romero had lined up in the starting 11 Albiceleste and started the game.
“We got to this situation because everything that Anvisa had recommended from the start was not followed. [Les joueurs] had been instructed to remain isolated while awaiting deportation [du pays], but they went to the stadium and entered the field ”, the director of the health agency, Antonio Barra Torres, told TV Globo.
Unlike the nine Brazilians in the Premier League summoned by coach Tite, the four Argentines made the trip despite the veto of English clubs, who banned their South American players from participating in these international matches to avoid a quarantine on their return.
“Everyone was taken aback. It’s a lamentable episode, a Brazil-Argentina match is at the centerœur worldwide attention ‘, lamented the interim president of the Brazilian Confederation, Ednaldo Rodrigues.
The wait was enormous for this shock, the revenge of the final of the Copa América, which saw the Argentinian superstar Lionel Messi win his first selection title thanks to a 1-0 victory over the Seleçao, on July 10, at the Maracana. This meeting was to oppose Messi and Neymar, teammates at Paris SG since this summer after playing together for four years at FC Barcelona (2013-2017). It was the duel at the top of these South American qualifications, the Brazilians prancing in the lead with 21 points and seven wins in seven games, followed by the Albiceleste (15 points).