Argentina stars Emiliano Martinez, Cristian Romero, Giovani Lo Celso and Emiliano Buendia have avoided deportation from Brazil after Sunday’s clash between the two sides was suspended in bizarre fashion.
Just eight minutes into the match, Brazilian health officials rushed the pitch in an attempt to detain the four Premier League players, who were accused of failing to abide by the country’s quarantine rules following their arrival from England.
It all got a little mental and it took the referee just a few minutes to realise that this game was not going to continue, so the attention soon turned to what would happen to the four players accused of breaking the rules.
Brazilian authorities were looking to detain the quartet amid accusations that they had lied about their quarantine situation, and according to TNT Sports, it took an intervention from the Argentine ambassador to Brazil, Daniel Scioli, to prevent that from happening.
The entire squad quickly returned to Buenos Aires to bring the crazy events to an end, and the focus is now on Thursday’s meeting with Bolivia, in which Martinez and Buendia will not play because of a pre-existing agreement between their club, Aston Villa, and the Argentina chiefs.
Martinez’s brother confirmed as much to Radio Rivadavia, stating that the two players will now head off to Croatia for a quarantine period before returning to Villa.
There was no such agreement between Tottenham and Argentina, meaning both Romero and Lo Celso are technically free to play against Bolivia before heading off for their own Croatian quarantine, but it is suggested that the pair could be shipped off alongside Martinez and Buendia just to bring an end to the mess.
The Argentine Football Association were left livid by the whole thing, blasting health officials Anvisa for what they perceived to be mixed messages in the build up to the game.
“The Argentine Football Association expresses its deep discomfort at the suspension of the meeting between the Argentine National Team and the Brazilian National Team in São Paulo,” a statement read.
“Like the CBF, the AFA is surprised by the actions of Anvisa once the game had started. It should be noted that the Albiceleste Delegation was in Brazilian territory since September 3 at 8am, complying with all current sanitary protocols regulated by Conmebol for the normal development of the Qualifiers heading to Qatar 2022.
“Following the report from the Conmebol officials and the match referee, the information will be forwarded to the competent FIFA body in accordance with current regulations. Football should not experience these kinds of episodes that undermine the sportsmanship of such an important competition.”
(By Tom Gott, 90MIN, 06.09.