Soccer

Brazil threatened to deport Spurs and Villa players ahead of Argentina clash

Brazil reportedly wanted four Premier League-based Argentina players deported from the country, just hours ahead of their crucial World Cup qualifier in Sao Paolo.

The two great rivals are due to face off at 5pm local time – or 8pm in the UK.

But the build-up to the tie has been shrouded in controversy after four Argentina players were accused by Brazilian health authorities of failing to follow quarantine guidelines.

The quartet are believed to be Premier League stars Emiliano Buendia and Emiliano Martinez of Aston Villa and Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero of Tottenham.

Martinez, Le Celso and Romero have all been named in Argentina's starting line-up for the all-important match, with Buendia on the bench.

According to Brazilian travel rules, any foreign person who has passed through the United Kingdom, South Africa, Northern Ireland or India in the last 14 days, is prevented from entering Brazil.

Brazil's National Health Surveillance Agency says that "the players in question declared that they have not passed through any of the four countries with restrictions in the last 14 days."

But allege those reports to be false after receiving news from an unofficial source.

They add that the players arrived in Brazil by flight from Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, to Guarulhos, which is near Sao Paolo.

Once it was confirmed that the information they received was false, Brazilian health authority reportedly notified the federal police.

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Despite the unprecedented situation, the fixture between Argentina and Brazil is set to go ahead as planned, with all of the players available.

Villa goalkeeper Martinez even attempted to make light of the situation, posting a picture of his shirt from inside the dressing room with an Argentina flag and a wink emoji alongside it.

CONMEBOL are understood to have told Brazil that if they don’t allow the Premier-League based players play, they will face a points deduction.

The two countries occupy the top two spots in South American qualifying for the 2022 World Cup with Brazil winning all their games so far.

Argentina are hoping to cut the gap to their rivals to just two points in tonight's match at Sao Paolo.

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