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Argentina's Premier League players have been threatened with deportation from Brazil, just hours before the two teams are due to meet for a World Cup qualifier.
Countries being on the red list in the UK led to certain players not being allowed to leave to join up with their national teams during the international break, with South America in particular hit by the decision by clubs.
Argentina stars Emiliano Buendia, Emiliano Martinez, Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero all travelled to meet up with their country's team.
On Sunday night, they were all due to be part of the squad to face Brazil, in the continents biggest game, but police in the country ordered the English based players to be deported.
It's due to the fact that anyone who has spent time in the past two weeks in the UK has to quarantine in order to get into Brazil, and the four players haven't.
Real problems for the Brazil v Argentina game, due to kick off in 2 hours.— Tim Vickery (@Tim_Vickery) September 5, 2021
The Brazilian health authorities want the immediate deportation of Argentina's 4 Premier League players - three of whom are set to start the game....
the rules are being followed - football inside South America has been getting a 'pass' - but this special exemption does not apply to those coming from the UK— Tim Vickery (@Tim_Vickery) September 5, 2021
it all shows how badly this whole thing has been planned and thought out.— Tim Vickery (@Tim_Vickery) September 5, 2021
The solution was so simple
Use the time spent playing the Copa (an extra Copa) to catch up with World Cup qualifiers
The Selecao missed out on calling up nine players from England's top tier, with Alisson, Fabinho, Roberto Firmino, Ederson, Gabriel Jesus, Thiago Silva, Fred, Richarlison and Raphinha all stopped from travelling.
If the players had gone, they'd have also had to quarantine after returning from international duty, and then miss a couple of games for their clubs, more for those playing in the Champions League.
Perhaps the Brazilian authorities felt their team were at a disadvantage, with Argentina actually having their Premier League based players with the squad.
Things took an even bigger twist on Sunday though, with the South American football governing body CONMEBOL threatening to award Argentina the win if their players were stopped from playing.
🚨 TNT | CONMEBOL has warned Brazil, if Argentina's players from England do not participate, the match will be cancelled and Argentina will get the 3 points. 🔥— BeksFCB (@Joshua_Ubeku) September 5, 2021
Brazil and Argentina's rivalry can often boil over on the pitch but this time things have got a bit spicy a couple of hours before kick off, and what happens next is anyone's guess.
Last time the two sides met was earlier in the summer in the final of the Copa America, on that occasion Lionel Messi ended his hoodoo of having never won an international competition.
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