It was another Super Clasico since the Copa America final at Maracana. Brazil and Argentina met each other at the Corinthians Arena for the World Cup Qualifiers and the match had barely passed five minutes when scores of officers stormed the pitch, to the incredulity of both teams.
Por decisión del árbitro del partido, el encuentro organizado por FIFA entre Brasil y Argentina por las Eliminatorias para la Copa del Mundo queda suspendido.
— CONMEBOL.com (@CONMEBOL) September 5, 2021
Just three minutes in, this one is already tense after Cristian Romero lands a tough tackle on Eder Militao. Brazil are angry because it was a tough challenge and Argentina are frustrated because they thought they were off on a good counterattack.
There were sparks on the pitch and on the sidelines, seemingly because members of the authorities are trying to stop the match due to the issue we reported before the game regarding Emiliano Martinez, Cristian Romero, Gio Lo Celso and Emiliano Buendia.
As some members of the Argentina squad tried to push the delegates off the pitch, a mini brawl broke out.
2022 World Cup qualifier Brazil vs. Argentina has been suspended after Brazilian health officials walked on the pitch to confront the four Argentine Premier League players who broke Brazilian rules after traveling from the UK in the last 14 days and not quarantining. @brfootball pic.twitter.com/8NztcLBZiB
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 5, 2021
Argentina’s players are furious and have walked off, while Neymar and his Brazil teammates are in conversation with the officials to try to work out what is actually going on.
Dani Alaves had gone to find Lionel Messi and has brought him out of the dressing room. Messi – who was wearing a bib by then and not his shirt, suggesting Argentina are not sitting waiting to come back – spoke with a few of the Brazil players he knew best and with Tite and his own coach Lionel Scaloni.
After a talk between the captains and the coaches, Messi walked back off the pitch again. He was now in the tunnel, continuing his conversation with Dani Alves.
Video of World Cup qualifier being stopped in Brazil over English-based Argentina players’ quarantine status with health officials going on the pitch pic.twitter.com/vKFvcdIycG
— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) September 5, 2021
Argentina were frustrated and seemed like leaving the stadium soon, although it remained to be seen what will happen with the four players – Emiliano Martinez, Cristian Romero, Gio Lo Celso and Emiliano Buendia – on whom the Brazilian authorities claim broke quarantine procedure.
The drama started in the hours before the match, as reports emerged that Argentine’s Premier League quartet of Emiliano Martinez, Cristian Romero, Gio Lo Celso and Emiliano Buendia were to be deported because they hadn’t correctly filled out quarantine paperwork for those arriving in Brazil who had recently been in England.
The wanted trio and Buendia came from the United Kingdom, which is one of the countries on Brazil’s own red list.
Unacceptable from Argentina, those players should be hit with some heavy fines.
— 𝗡𝗲𝘆𝗺𝗼𝗹𝗲𝗾𝘂𝗲 (@Neymoleque) September 5, 2021
Under national law, foreign travellers from the country must complete a 14-day quarantine once they have landed.
The Argentine Premier League contingent, however, only declared that they had been to Caracas, the site of the Albiceleste’s last World Cup qualifier against Venezuela, and did not reveal to immigration and health authorities that they had been in the UK.
While Martinez, Romero, Buendia and Lo Celso had received dispensation from their clubs to leave England other CONMEBOL nations were not so lucky, with Brazil losing nine of their squad for these qualifiers as a result of the division’s refusal to release players to red list countries.
A sad end to the high-voltage drama.