Brazil and Argentina face each other tomorrow for the first time in two years. The last time the two met was on September 5, 2021 at the Neo Química Arena, when agents from Anvisa (National Health Surveillance Agency) interrupted the match after just six minutes to remove four Argentine players who disrespected the entry protocol in Brazil due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Emiliano Martínez, Giovanni Lo Celso, Cristian Romero and Emiliano Buendía were the athletes who could not be on the field. At the time, because of the Coronavirus, anyone who came from England, where the four were playing for their clubs, needed to quarantine for 14 days. The problem occurred because the athletes did not inform that they were in English territory and did not respect the two-week isolation, giving Anvisa the impression that they tried to circumvent the protocol.
With three of the four players in the starting lineup, the match began, and was soon stopped when authorities from Anvisa and the Federal Police entered the Neo Química Arena lawn to notify the Argentines. With that, the Argentina players went to the locker room.
“There are four players. When they arrive in national territory, they present the traveler’s health declaration. This document did not say that they passed through one of the three countries that are restricted, precisely to contain the pandemic. But it was later found that they passed through the United Kingdom. It was found between last night and today. We reached this point because everything that Anvisa advised, from the beginning, was not fulfilled. They were instructed to remain isolated to await deportation. But it was not fulfilled. They go to the stadium, enter the field, there is a sequence of non-compliances”, said the director-president of the health agency, Antonio Barra Torres.
After the game that didn’t happen, FIFA analyzed the case, canceled the duel and punished CBF and AFA (Argentine Football Association). In the case of Brazil, the fine was R$3.1 million, while Argentines paid R$1.4 million. Additionally, the four players were suspended for two games.
Even without the points from the match, the Brazilian team finished at the top of the Qualifiers with 45 points in 17 games, six more than Argentina. The two teams face each other this Tuesday (21), at 9:30 pm, at Maracanã, in the eighth round of the Qualifiers.