Four Argentina key players have been reportedly suspended as FIFA ordered the replay of the abandoned qualifiers game between Brasil and Argentina.
Those four Argentines who are the subject of suspension are the Aston Villa goalkeeper, Emiliano Martinez and his winger teammate, Emiliano Buendia, Villareal midfielder, Giovani Lo Celso and Tottenham defender, Cristian Romero. They are set to be banned from FIFA for two official matches due to failing to comply with the international match protocol. Four of them were deemed to feign their health status while entering Brasil last September. At that time, Brasil and Argentina were squaring off for the world cup qualifying round in Sao Paulo. However, the game was suddenly halted by the local health authority, ANVISA. Its officers simply walked into the pitch and to deport those four figures immediately. As a result, all Argentina players returned to the dressing room and determined not going back leaving the home side all alone on the pitch.
FIFA has made a statement regarding their current decision on this issue.
"After a thorough investigation of the various factual elements and in light of the applicable regulations, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee has decided that the match should be replayed on a date and at a location to be decided by FIFA,” said a statement from the global governing body. The abandonment of the match stemmed from several deficiencies of the parties involved towards their respective responsibilities.”
The world football governing body also opted to fine both Brasilian CBF and Argentina AFA CHF 550,000 and CHF 250,000 respectively for abandoning the match. The former is disappointed with the fine while the latter is planning to appeal that decision.
Both teams have already secured their berth in Qatar 2022 despite having several games left. They both now have two fixtures remaining in March, which means losing those four names should not be an issue for Albiceleste who have deep pool of talents in the squad. Their last encounter at the qualifiers ended in a stalemate last November.
Brasil and Argentina have met in all big competitions, including in Copa America and World Cup final round. They have faced off four times each in the continental tournament final and FIFA World Cup. Argentina won their last encounters in both competitions. Leo Messi and Co thumped Selecao 1-0 in 2021 Copa America final while Diego Maradona led his team mates to beat Brasil 1-0 at the round of 16 in World Cup 1990.
In Qatar 2022, they are likely to be touted as the favourites alongside Spain, France, Germany and England. Will either of them eventually have the last laugh and lift the trophy? Only time will tell.