Just minutes into the match, the World Cup qualifier between Brazil and Argentina was suspended on Sunday when Brazilian health officials stormed the pitch to confront three players who are accused of lying on their immigration forms to avoid the required COVID-19 quarantine.
Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero of Tottenham and Emiliano Martinez of Aston Villa are three of four Argentina players who also play in the England-based Premier League. All four were told by Brazilian health authorities just hours before the match kicked off that they needed to leave Brazil and immediately isolate. They’d very recently been to the UK, and Brazil requires a 14-day quarantine for anyone entering the country who has spent time in the UK over the past two weeks.
Lo Celso, Romero and Martinez were all starting for Argentina against Brazil on Sunday despite being told to leave the country and quarantine. They should have quarantined on arrival, but allegedly lied on their immigration forms to avoid that. An investigation from Brazil’s health agency, Anvisa, apparently revealed that information, and it alerted local health authorities and law enforcement to intervene in what it called “a serious health risk,” via The Athletic.
Argentina walked off the pitch once the hubbub began, but Brazil stayed out there until at least the match was officially suspended.
Then one of the goals was moved in and it appeared that a training session was taking place while Argentina’s issues were being worked through.
FIFA later confirmed the qualifier was officially suspended.