Brazil-Argentina qualifier suspended after health officials enter pitch
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Everton striker Richarlison took to social media to post a cheeky message following the suspension of Brazil’s World Cup 2022 qualifier with Argentina on Sunday. The game was brought to an abrupt end just seven minutes in.
The clash descended into anarchy when officials from Brazil’s national health surveillance agency ANVISA walked onto the pitch alongside the country’s Federal Police.
They were unhappy that Argentina’s four Premier League players Giovani Lo Celso, Cristian Romero, Emiliano Buendia and Emiliano Martinez had not quarantined following their arrival in Brazil.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, anyone visiting the country from the UK has to isolate for 14 days upon arrival.
ANVISA wanted to deport the players immediately, despite the match already being underway.
Chaotic scenes followed as both sets of players departed the pitch. The Argentina squad then flew home on Sunday evening as the match was cancelled.
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Following the suspension, Everton forward Richarlison shared a post on Instagram which said: “Anvisa 1-0 Argentina.”
The tongue-in-cheek post is clearly alluding to the fact that, in Richarlison’s eyes, ANVISA claimed a victory by suspending the match and forcing Argentina to leave the country.
Richarlison wasn’t part of the Brazil squad for the match after Premier League clubs had unanimously voted not to release players for international matches played in red list countries.
The 24-year-old has instead stayed in England and will therefore not be forced to miss any of Everton’s upcoming games – unlike Argentina’s four players who will have to quarantine on their return to England.
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Richarlison has become a key player for his country and played every game as Brazil narrowly missed out on lifting the Copa America trophy this summer.
Brazil reached the final but went down 1-0 to Argentina.
Richarlison was then part of the Brazil side which won the gold medal at this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo. He has won 32 caps for Brazil, scoring 10 goals.
“Due to the decision of the game’s referee, the match organized by FIFA between Brazil and Argentina for the World Cup qualifiers is suspended,” CONMEBOL announced via Twitter after Sunday’s bedlam in Brazil.
“The referee and the match delegate will raise a report to FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee, which will determine the steps to follow. These proceedings will abide adhere to current regulations.”
Argentinian Football Association president Claudio Tapia released a statement saying: “What happened today is really unfortunate for football, it’s a very bad image.
“Four people came on to interrupt the match to make a statement and CONMEBOL asked that the players go to the dressing room.
“Here, you can’t speak about any lying because there’s a health legislation that regulates every South American tournament.
“The health authorities of each country approved a protocol which we followed to the letter.”
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