Brazil v Argentina WCQ COVID-19 farce

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On a day overshadowed by the incredible suspension of Brazil's World Cup qualifier against visitors Argentina because of COVID-19 protocols, Uruguay and Colombia added key points in their quest for a spot in Qatar next year.

The clash between Brazil and Argentina was suspended in farcical circumstances on Sunday when Brazilian health officials took to the field to object to the participation of three Argentine players they say broke quarantine rules.

Officials from Brazil's health regulator Anvisa walked onto the pitch at the Corinthians arena and stopped the game about seven minutes after kick-off.

Argentines left the field, although the two coaches, along with Lionel Messi and Brazilian players, gathered at the side of the pitch a few moments later to discuss the stoppage.

"Why did they start the game and stop it after five minutes?" Messi said in comments heard on television.

"We've been here at the stadium for an hour, they could have told us."

Messi then returned to the dressing room and at 5pm local time, an hour after the game kicked off, the match was officially suspended.

"The referee and the match official will take a report to the FIFA Disciplinary Committee and they will decide what steps to take," said a statement issued by the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL).

The incident occurred just hours after Anvisa had said four Argentine players - Cristian Romero, Giovani Lo Celso and Emiliano Martinez who are based in England's Premier League - must isolate and could not play in the match.

Three of them started against Brazil.

Brazilian Football Confederation president Ednaldo Rodrigues said he was "indignant" with the scenes that reverberated around the football world.

"With all due respect to Anvisa, they could have resolved this earlier and not waited for the game to start," he told Brazil's Sportv.

A shell-shocked Argentine coach Lionel Scaloni agreed.

"It makes me so sad, I am not looking for guilty parties, whatever happened or didn't happen, this wasn't the time to do it... at no time were we told we couldn't play the game," he told Argentine broadcaster TyC Sports.

Under Brazilian rules, visitors who have been in the UK in the 14 days before entering the country must quarantine for 14 days on arrival.

Anvisa were tipped off the four Argentines did not state that information on their immigration forms and on Sunday morning they confirmed the details given were "false".

The confusion comes amid continuing anger in South America at rules which have robbed several teams of key players for this month's three World Cup qualifiers.

Brazil lead the South American qualifying group for Qatar 2022, six points ahead of second-placed Argentina.

Uruguay overwhelmed Bolivia 4-2 to move into fourth place, a spot behind Ecuador who drew 0-0 with Chile, Colombia drew 1-1 in Paraguay to stay ahead of their hosts in fifth while Peru beat Venezuela 1-0 to leave them rooted to the bottom.

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