Four Argentina players to return to England; will miss World Cup qualifier

Lewis Oldham

Four Argentina players have been released from the squad ahead of their World Cup qualifier against Bolivia after claims that they broke Covid laws.

Cristian Romero, Giovani Lo Celso, Emiliano Buendia and Emiliano Martinez of Tottenham and Aston Villa were part of the Argentina squad.

Buendia was the only player not included in the matchday squad that was selected to face Brazil in a World Cup qualifier in Sao Paulo on Sunday.

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The game was halted shortly after kick off. It has been claimed that the four Premier League players broke Covid-19 rules when they entered Brazil.

The Brazilian Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) said that:

“After a meeting with the health authorities, it was confirmed, after consulting the passports of the four players involved, that the athletes failed to comply with the rule for the entry of travellers on Brazilian soil.

“ANVISA considers the situation a serious health risk, and therefore advised the local health authorities to determine the immediate quarantine of players, who are prevented from participating in any activity and must be prevented from remaining in Brazilian territory.”

On Monday, a spokesperson from Brazil’s federal police revealed that an investigation had been opened against the four players:

“We can confirm an investigation has begun into the possible crime of supplying false information.

“Yesterday, the players were notified they must leave the country, which is the regular procedure.”

The Athletic have suggested that the four players should be available to return to action on the 17-19 September Premier League game weekend.

Their report states: “Argentina have released all four of their Premier League representatives from their national team.

“Aston Villa’s Emiliano Martinez and Emiliano Buendia left the squad earlier on Monday and now Tottenham duo Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero have also been relieved of their international duties.

“This means the quartet will not play in Argentina’s qualifier against Bolivia on Friday and instead will return to their Premier League clubs.

“The Spurs pair should be available for the game against Chelsea on September 19 and the same applies for the Villa duo regarding their match against Everton on September 18.”