EPL

Scaloni 'sad' after Brazil-Argentina qualifier suspended: It should've been a party for everyone

By Sports Desk September 05, 2021

Lionel Scaloni said he is upset Argentina's CONMEBOL World Cup qualifier against Brazil was suspended amid farcical scenes on Sunday after Brazilian health officials stormed the pitch.

The high-profile contest at the Neo Quimica Arena in Sao Paulo, which was set to see the likes of Neymar and Lionel Messi face off in a repeat of July's Copa America final, was halted just minutes after kick-off.

Local authorities entered the field in an attempt to remove four Argentina players that had apparently breached coronavirus regulations.

Those four players in question – Premier League quartet Emiliano Martinez, Cristian Romero, Giovani Lo Celso and Emiliano Buendia – all ply their trade in England.

The United Kingdom is a red-listed country in Brazil, meaning restricted entry to the nation for those who have been in the UK in the past 14 days.

Brazil had called up nine internationals from the English top flight for their latest fixtures on the road to Qatar 2022, but none of the group travelled to their native country.

Despite having arrived in the country three days ago, ANVISA – Brazil's heath authority – demanded the Argentine quartet immediately quarantine.

But Argentina head coach Scaloni insisted his the Copa America champions were never informed the match was at risk of not being played.

"At no time were we notified that they could not play the match. We wanted to play the game, the players from Brazil too," he told reporters.

"It makes me very sad. I'm not looking for any culprits. Whether or not something happened, it was not the time to make that intervention.

"It should have been a party for everyone, to enjoy the best players in the world. I would like the people of Argentina to understand that as a coach I have to defend my players."

When the match began with the relevant Argentina players still included, health officials walked onto the pitch.

A melee broke out and the action was halted, with the entire Argentina team soon leaving the field.

Conversations continued, with the Brazil XI remaining on the pitch, while Argentina superstar Messi reappeared to speak with officials and his opponents, including Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Neymar.

Argentine Football Association (AFA) president Claudio Tapia said: "Here you can't talk about any lie because there is a health legislation under which all South American tournaments are played.

"The health authorities of each country approved a protocol that we have been complying with to the maximum.

"What was experienced today is regrettable for football, it is a very bad image. 

"Four people came in to interrupt the match to make a notification and CONMEBOL asked the players to go to the locker room."

The AFA also released a statement, which read: "The Argentine Football Association expresses its deep discomfort at the suspension of the meeting between the Argentine national team and the Brazilian national team in Sao Paulo. 

"Like the CBF, the AFA is surprised by the actions of ANVISA once the game has started. It should be noted that the Albiceleste delegation was in Brazilian territory since September 3 at 8am, complying with all current sanitary protocols regulated by CONMEBOL for the normal development of the qualifiers heading to Qatar 2022. 

"Following the report from the CONMEBOL officials and the match referee, the information will be forwarded to the competent FIFA body in accordance with current regulations. Football should not experience these kinds of episodes that undermine the sportsmanship of such an important competition."

Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) president Ednaldo Rodrigues joined his opposite number in criticising the health officials for the timing of their intervention.

"I feel sorry for all the sports fans who wanted to watch the game on television," he told Brazil's Sportv.

"With all due respect to ANVISA, they could have resolved this earlier and not waited for the game to start."

Related items

  • Flick goes strong for Germany's Nations League fixtures Flick goes strong for Germany's Nations League fixtures

    Germany coach Hansi Flick has named a 26-man squad for the upcoming Nations League fixtures at the end of the 2021-22 season.

    Flick's team face four matches in the space of 11 days between June 4 and 14, playing against Italy both home and away, either side of hosting England and travelling to Hungary.

    There are no new faces in Germany's squad, with Flick sticking with the tried-and-tested players who will almost certainly form the bulk of his selection for the 2022 World Cup, which starts in November.

    Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen is a notable absentee, but he had previously confirmed he asked Flick for permission to skip the matches and recuperate.

    It means uncapped Hoffenheim goalkeeper Oliver Baumann has received his first call-up since September 2020, with Kevin Trapp – who saved a penalty to ensure a shoot-out success for Eintracht Frankfurt over Rangers in the Europa League final on Wednesday – second-choice behind Manuel Neuer.

    Niklas Sule and Nico Schlotterbeck will be playing together at Borussia Dortmund next season and are both in the squad, while RB Leipzig defender Lukas Klostermann has earned his first call since October last year.

    Antonio Rudiger, seemingly Real Madrid bound, is the oldest player in a relatively youthful defence, at 29. Matthias Ginter has missed out, however.

    Bayern Munich star Joshua Kimmich returns after an absence, as does Leon Goretzka. 

    Karim Adeyemi – who Dortmund have signed to replace Erling Haaland – also features, as does Bayern youngster Jamal Musiala alongside his club-mates Serge Gnabry, Thomas Muller and Leroy Sane, Chelsea duo Kai Havertz and Timo Werner, and Wolfsburg forward Lukas Nmecha, who has featured in Flick's two previous squads.

    Germany squad in full:

    Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Oliver Baumann (Hoffenheim), Kevin Trapp (Eintracht Frankfurt); Benjamin Henrichs (RB Leipzig), Thilo Kehrer (Paris Saint-Germain), Lukas Klostermann (RB Leipzig), David Raum (Hoffenheim), Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea), Nico Schlotterbeck (Freiburg), Niklas Sule (Bayern Munich), Jonathan Tah (Bayer Leverkusen); Julian Brandt (Borussia Dortmund), Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich), Leon Goretzka (Bayern Munich), Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City), Jonas Hofmann (Borussia Monchengladbach), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich), Leroy Sane (Bayern Munich), Anton Stach (Mainz); Karim Adeyemi (Salzburg), Kai Havertz (Chelsea), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Lukas Nmecha (Wolfsburg), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund), Timo Werner (Chelsea).

  • Mbappe transfer not on Ancelotti's mind as Madrid prepare for Champions League final Mbappe transfer not on Ancelotti's mind as Madrid prepare for Champions League final

    Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti insisted the ongoing Kylian Mbappe transfer saga is not on his mind as he focuses on the Champions League final against Liverpool.

    Mbappe's contract with Paris Saint-Germain is due to expire at the end of the season as reports persist that the World Cup winner will move to the Spanish capital.

    The France international has stated he will announce his decision before joining up with Les Bleus for international duty in June, with PSG still hopeful of keeping their talisman at the Parc des Princes.

    Mbappe's 57 goal contributions in all competitions this season can only be bettered by Madrid forward and international team-mate Karim Benzema (59) among players in the top five European leagues.

    Ancelotti could have the pair to call upon in his attack alongside Vinicius Junior next term, but the Italian insists he is concentrating on the European showpiece with Liverpool on May 28 in Paris.

    "I spend my time in Valdebebas [Madrid's training ground], in the car at home or in a restaurant," Ancelotti said ahead of Friday's LaLiga game against Real Betis.

    "Nobody asks me about Mbappe because everyone is thinking about the Champions League final.

    "I don't consider the Mbappe issue; the only thing I have in mind is the Champions League final, and that leaves me very calm."

    Ancelotti will continue to rotate his side against Betis on Friday with the LaLiga title already secured as Madrid eye their 14th European crown.

    Meanwhile, Liverpool remain in the hunt for an unprecedented quadruple, having lifted the FA Cup last Saturday against Chelsea and then beaten Southampton on Tuesday to sit one point behind Premier League leaders Manchester City with a game to go.

    However, Ancelotti does not believe the contrasting schedules will make a difference when the two teams meet at the Stade de France in UEFA's premier club competition.

    "Liverpool in this period have had more difficulties than us, because they have important games," he added.

    "They have won the FA Cup. We have had the opportunity to think more about this game, but it will not affect the team. We will think about the game from Monday."

    Ancelotti also called on Madrid to enjoy the occasion of the final.

    "We must not forget the happiness of playing this game," he continued. "It is normal to have anxiety and worry about facing a strong team. I am happy to have time to prepare it.

    "We are where many want to be – it is the most important game of the world football. Now we are enjoying it. After the match, there may be more happiness or a bit of sadness."

  • 'He is part of Madrid history' – Ancelotti hails Bale ahead of Bernabeu exit 'He is part of Madrid history' – Ancelotti hails Bale ahead of Bernabeu exit

    Carlo Ancelotti confirmed Gareth Bale will leave Real Madrid when his contract expires in June as he hailed the forward who remains "a part of the history" at the Santiago Bernabeu.

    Madrid wrapped up the LaLiga title with four games to spare and host Real Betis on the final matchday of the league season, with a Champions League final against Liverpool to follow on May 28 in Paris.

    Bale's role in their success to this point has been extremely limited, making just seven appearances in all competitions this season, totalling only 290 minutes of action.

    The Wales international, who will hope to qualify for the World Cup when his country face either Ukraine or Scotland in their play-off final on June 5, was expected to leave Madrid when his contract runs out at the end of the season, and Ancelotti confirmed that was the case on Thursday.

    Bale has won four Champions League titles during his nine-year spell in the Spanish capital, scoring three final goals.

    But his exit will mark the end of a turbulent stay in Madrid, with his Los Blancos commitment regularly coming under scrutiny from Madridistas and the Spanish press.

    Ancelotti could not promise Bale a final farewell appearance at the Bernabeu on Friday as injury problems persist, but the Italian insisted the 32-year-old's name will be etched into Madrid's history books.

    "Bale isn't 100 per cent fit, and he won't be in the squad. Tomorrow I'll choose if he's on the bench or in the stands," Ancelotti told a pre-match news conference.

    Asked about his future, Ancelotti added: "The contract ends, and he will leave. It is not so important if he plays tomorrow. Bale is part of the history of this club. He will remain in the memory of all Madrid fans.

    "He was important in the Decima [the club's 10th Champions League win], in Kyiv, in the Copa del Rey. He has written important pages in this club's history, and we have to take that into account."

    While Bale will not feature against Betis, who are winless in their past 10 LaLiga visits to teams from the Madrid region, Ancelotti will continue to rotate his side to build fitness for the Champions League final.

    "I think about giving minutes to the players who need it the most," Ancelotti continued. "Tomorrow Marcelo, [Luka] Modric... [David] Alaba will train with the group starting on Monday."

    Karim Benzema has scored 27 goals in LaLiga this season and is set to become the first French player to finish a campaign as the top scorer in the competition's history, but he is expected to be rested again.

    Despite fielding another heavily rotated side, Ancelotti expects an exciting game against Copa del Rey winners Betis.

    "We are the two teams that have won the competitions," he added. "It will be an entertaining game because Betis plays quality football."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.