Brazil and Argentina World Cup qualifier suspended after violent clashes

World Cup

The World Cup qualifier match between Brazil and Argentina was abruptly suspended on Sunday after violent clashes broke out between local fans and visiting supporters. The incident occurred during the playing of the national anthems when some Argentinian fans started throwing objects and insults at the Brazilian crowd behind one of the goals. The Brazilian police reacted by charging at the Argentinian section with nightsticks, causing a chaotic scene that forced the referee to stop the game.

World Cup

COVID-19 controversy overshadows the game

The match was already marred by a COVID-19 controversy that erupted hours before the kick-off. According to Brazil’s National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA), four England-based players in Argentina’s squad had provided “false information” upon their entry to Brazil and should be placed in “immediate quarantine” for breaching COVID-19 protocols. The players were Giovani Lo Celso (Tottenham), Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa), Emiliano Buendia (Aston Villa), and Cristian Romero (Tottenham).

The four players were accused of failing to disclose that they had spent time in the United Kingdom in the 14 days before they arrived in Brazil, where COVID-19 has claimed more than 580,000 lives. Brazil has imposed strict travel restrictions on visitors from the UK and other countries with high infection rates. The players could face fines and deportation if found guilty of violating the rules.

ANVISA officials invade the pitch

The COVID-19 dispute took a dramatic turn when ANVISA officials invaded the pitch seven minutes into the game, apparently intending to detain the four players and remove them from the field. The officials were met with resistance from the Argentinian team, who surrounded and protected their teammates. A scuffle ensued, involving players, coaches, and staff from both sides. The referee decided to suspend the game and escort the teams to the dressing rooms.

The intervention of ANVISA officials was met with disbelief and anger by the Argentinian delegation, who claimed that they had followed FIFA protocols for the game and that the players had tested negative for COVID-19. Argentina captain Lionel Messi questioned the timing of the action, saying “We’ve been here for three days, why are you doing this just now?” Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni also expressed his frustration, saying “At no time were we told that they could not play the game.”

FIFA to investigate the incident

The fate of the game remains uncertain, as FIFA has not yet announced its decision on whether to resume, reschedule, or cancel the match. FIFA said in a statement that it “can confirm that following a decision by the match officials, the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifying match Brazil vs. Argentina has been suspended. Further details will follow in due course.”

The incident has sparked a diplomatic row between the two countries, as well as criticism from the football world. Former Brazil star Rivaldo said on Instagram that “it was a sad day for Brazilian football” and that “the image we passed to the world was terrible.” Former Argentina player and coach Diego Maradona also weighed in on the issue, saying on Facebook that “it was a disgrace what happened in Brazil” and that “the players have the right to play and not be treated like criminals.”

The match was supposed to be a highly anticipated clash between the two South American rivals, who are both unbeaten in the World Cup qualifiers and have some of the best players in the world, including Messi and Neymar. The game was also expected to draw a large audience, as it was the first time that fans were allowed to attend a World Cup qualifier in Brazil since the pandemic began. However, the game turned into a fiasco that overshadowed the sport and embarrassed both nations.

By Kane Wilson

Kane Wilson, founder of this news website, is a seasoned news editor renowned for his analytical skills and meticulous approach to storytelling. His journey in journalism began as a local reporter, and he quickly climbed the ranks due to his talent for unearthing compelling stories. Kane completed his Master’s degree in Media Studies from Northwestern University and spent several years in broadcast journalism prior to co-founding this platform. His dedication to delivering unbiased news and ability to present complex issues in an easily digestible format make him an influential voice in the industry.

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